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Translated from the Russian and edited by 




With a foreword by ADOLF MEYER 











THERE ARE several reasons which make the publication 
in English of our Moscow colleague especially welcome. 
In the first place, it represents a mode of approach 
constituting a characteristic expansion of the Russian school of 
laboratory work in the clinical field, little known and little cul- 
tivated in the English-speaking countries. We are therefore 
grateful to the author and to the translator and to the publisher 
for giving us access to a work refreshing on many counts. Pro- 
fessor Luria offers us a true psychobiology and not largely 
neurologising tautologies, in remarkably close contact with the 
sense of the work of Lashley and other American workers but 
definitely occupied with human problems. He shows a much 
greater applicability of laboratory methods to the human being 
than is generally expected in our environment, without sur- 
rendering to a sidestepping in merely physiologising concepts. 
Another point that is bound to impress one is the combination 
of practical interest with a remarkably consistent perspective 
of methodology in the midst of a phase of cultural and political 
life which among us is too often used as an excuse for neglect 
of strictly scientific programmes. 

These are a few of the reasons why it is a pleasure to give a 
word of warm welcome and gratitude and introduction to this 
account of the unusually ingenious results of factual and 
methodological contributions that cannot help proving a genuine 
contribution to psychiatric work and interests apt to be somewhat 
onesidedly treated in psychiatric practice. 


Baltimore, May, 1932. 



Ml INTEREST in the scientific work being accomplished 
n Soviet Russia a nation whose vigour, versatile 
alents, and potentialities we must not ignore nor 
minimize as well as the stimulating record of experiments that 
Professor Luria gives us here, has led me to undertake the 
translation of this book. My sojourn of six years in the Union 
of Soviet Socialistic Republics as the first American following 
the Revolution to do extended research in the laboratories and 
medical institutes of the new Russia just emerging from chaos, 
my intimate and cordial relations there with the scientists and 
my admiration of their zealous strivings and achievements, to- 
gether with my natural interest in the problems Luria illuminates, 
have made the opportunity to cooperate in the presentation of 
another scientific book from Russia too great a temptation to 
let pass. 

Now, out of the USSR where the dogma of Marxian mate- 
rialism all but reigns supreme, comes this record of experimental 
work from one who likes to style himself a "Marxian materialist- 
psychologist' 1 telling us among other interesting things that we 
can control our behaviour and showing us how; whether this 
is in effect freedom of the will each reader may decide accord- 
ing to his own philosophical predilections. The author suggests 
many new theories, and whether we agree with them all or not, 
the record of experiments upon which these hypotheses concern- 
ing human nature are everywhere based must command our 
serious attention. And we can but welcome this attack upon the 
many questions of our psychical existence (for "mankind will 
possess incalculable advantages and extraordinary control over 


human behaviour when the scientific investigator will be able 
to subject his fellow men to the same external analysis as he 
employs for any natural object" 1 ) if we have a real interest 
in psychobiology or the science of the total higher nervous reac- 
tions (and their contributing factors) of the organism; for we 
are gradually coming to the view expressed by a philosopher- 
scientist-psychiatrist that "all human functioning must be 
brought within the scope of natural science"( Adolf Meyer). 

I have made a close translation of the actual experimental 
work, without alterations or omissions. Owing to the large size 
of the book, however, the discussions I have sometimes con- 
densed; Chapter XI and particularly Chapter XII I have ab- 
stracted quite freely without adhering to the style of the author. 
In the association tests the words given are translations of the 
Russian except where otherwise indicated. In cases in which 
there seemed to be a phonetic relation between the word-stimulus 
and the word-reaction I have translated the Russian word too, 
but not unless such a relation was evident. Figures 85, in, and 
130 were lost and they and their references in the text have 
been omitted. All the kymographic records have been traced 
under my supervision, as the originals could not be photographed. 

With deep appreciation I acknowledge the valuable aid ren- 
dered me in this translation by the following: Dr. Roger Brown 
Loucks for a careful reading of the manuscript, and for 
suggestions regarding some of the psychological terms; Miss 
Ruth M. Muellerschoen for re-drawing most of the charts, and 
also, together with Mrs. Helen Luber Soffer, Mrs. Frank Gosnell 
and Miss Frances Hall for technical aid with the manuscript. 
Especial credit is due Mr. Saxe Commins for his participation 
in the editorial work, and altogether the publishers have spared 
no pains nor consideration to present the book in a manner 
befitting its scientific merit. 


1 Pavlov's Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, p. 95, Liveright Publishers, 
New York. 


THE RESEARCHES described here are the results of the 
experimental psychological investigations carried on at 
the State Institute of Experimental Psychology, Mos- 
cow, during the period of 1923-1930. The chief problems of the 
author were an objective and materialistic description of the 
mechanisms lying at the basis of the disorganisation of human 
behaviour and an experimental approach to the laws of its regu- 
lation. The first of these tasks forced the author to investigate 
the whole series of phenomena in which the disorganisation of 
human behaviour was clearly expressed: the problem of the dif- 
fuse, acute affect, of trauma and neurosis. An analysis of these 
states and the description of the symptoms characterising acute 
affect, as well as its traces, are given in the first part of the book. 
The study of affects and neuroses and their psychophysiologi- 
cal mechanisms suggested to the experimenter that it was not 
profitable to seek for the causes of the affective processes in the 
peripheral apparatus, but that the affective disorganisation of 
behaviour was connected primarily with central changes with 
the disturbances of human activity, and hence with profound 
changes in all the systems of psychological function, the correla- 
tions of which are fundamentally modified during the state of 
affect. To accomplish this it was necessary to create artificially 
affects and models of experimental neuroses which made possible 
an analysis of the laws lying at the basis of the disintegration of 
behaviour. The experiments with artificial conflicts, outlined in 
the second part of the book, constitute an approach to the psycho- 
physiological structure and dynamics of affect. 
Notwithstanding the fact that the material of this book is 



treated psychophysiologically, the author remains withal a psy- 
chologist. This is shown in the principles laid down at the begin- 
ning of the work and in the closing chapters. The author starts 
from the fundamental idea which he has sought to express else- 
where that the complex forms of organisation and disorganisa- 
tion of human behaviour can in nowise be explained as a simple 
play of neurophysiological processes, that no phenomena of ele- 
mentary neurodynamics can elucidate those configurations of 
integrated behaviour specific for the human as a social subject. 
It is more probable that elementary neurodynamics, as observed 
in the human, is comprehensible only by an analysis of those 
higher forms of organised behaviour connected with the cultur- 
ally created psychological functions, as for example, the involved 
behaviour of work, speech, and complex indirect operations. The 
inclusion of neurodynamics in the system of such higher psycho- 
logical functions brings about a specificity of its organisation. 

The desire to study the development of these higher forms of 
the regulators of human behaviour led at first to genetic experi- 
ments whose purpose was to investigate the regulation of be- 
haviour in early childhood, and to experiments dealing with 
pathological material in which models of these regulations were 
created in an experimental situation ; thus we were able to study 
the mechanism of the control of behaviour. Part III is devoted 
to this subject. 

In this latter series of experiments the author attempts to 
define his universal psychological point of view. Whilst dealing 
with the experimentally manifested psychophysiological mecha- 
nisms of affects, complexes, and conflicts, he does not become a 
psychoanalyst; nor a behaviourist in objectively analysing the 
psychophysiological structure of the disintegration and integra- 
tion of the psychical apparatus ; and least of all does he attempt 
to deduce the laws of higher activity from simple neurodynamical 

The author does not believe that the problems of the most 
complicated forms of human behaviour can be solved by the laws 
of the dynamics of tendency nor by the analysis of the condi- 


tioned reflex connections playing a role in the nervous system; 
the solution of this problem will be attained only by a careful 
description of the specific systems of behaviour produced in the 
process of the social historical development, which are distin- 
guished by the peculiarities of the human, and without which the 
organisation of the higher neurodynamics remains incompre- 

The author desires to thank the publishers for their interest 
in producing a book requiring so much labour. He feels especially 
flattered that such an authoritative scientist as Doctor Gantt 
should take upon himself the difficult and onerous task of trans- 
lating these investigations; without his participation it would 
have been well-nigh impossible to acquaint the American readers 
with these experiments. Furthermore, the author gratefully 
acknowledges the help of Prof. H. M. Kallen and Prof. Langfeld 
who have been instrumental in bringing this book before the 
American psychologists. 

A. R. L URI A 







1. The Problems of Disorganisation 

2. The Path of Investigation 





1. The Problem of Neurodynamic Investigation of Affect 

2. The Affect of Examination: Situation and Material 


1. Material and Experiments 

2. Symptoms of the Diffuse Affect 

3. Concentrated Affective Foci 

4. Dynamics of the Affective Processes 

TION 63 

1. Material and Experiments 

2. Neurodynamical Symptoms of Diffuse and Concentrated Affect 

3. Typological Data 



1. Problems and Material 

2. Actual Affect in Criminals 

3. The Diagnostics of Affective Traces in Criminals 

4. Negative Experiments 

5. The Dynamics of the Affective Processes in Criminals 

6. The Affective Complex and the Strategy of the Personality 





1. Problems and Material 

2. Symptomatology of the Suggested Complex 

3. Neurodynaraics of a Shifted and Conscious Affect 

4. The Reaction of the Personality: The Complex and the Trauma 



1. The Problems of the Affective Symptoms 

2. The Conditions of Manifestation of the Affective Symptoms and 
the Problem of the Systems of Expression 

3. Psychophysiology of the Affective Symptoms 

4. The Law of the Mobilisation of the Inadequate Masses of Ex- 

5. The Problem of the Reciprocities of the Expressive Systems 

6. The Dynamics of the Affective Symptoms 




1. Conflict and Disorganisation of Behaviour 

2. Experiments with the Conflict of the Setting 

a. Preliminary Trials 

b. Experiments with the Conflicts of the Language Setting 

3. Experiments with the Conflict of Defection 

a. Experiments with the Limited Associations 

b. Experiments with the Exhaustion of the Chain Associative 

4. Conflicting Processes and the Affective Symptoms 



1. Problem of the Stable Experimental Conflict 

2. Experiments with Artificial Tensions or Compulsions 

3. Experiments with Inhibited Compulsions 


1. The Structure of the Conflicts and the Mechanisation of the Dis- 
organised Behaviour 

2. Experiments with Conflicts of Aphasia 

3. Experiments with the Displacement of the Conflicts in Speech 

4. Structure of the Conflicting Processes and the Problem of the 
Neurodynamic Type 




i. Problem of the Stratified Analysis of the Conflicting Processes 

a. Experiments with Spontaneous Origin of Conflicts 

3. Experimental Conflicts 

4. Typological Significance of the Stratified Analysis 






1. Problems 

2. Experiments with Rhythmical Reactions 

3. Experiments with Simple Reactions to a Signal 

4. Experiments with Delayed Movements 

5. Experiments with Reactions of Choice 

6. The Psychological Peculiarities Connected with the Diffuse Struc- 
ture of the Child's Neurodynamics 

7. Problems of the Neurodynamical Age and Type 


1. Problem of the Functional Barrier 

2. The Structure of the Reactive Processes in Functional Neuroses 

3. The Structure of the Reactive Processes in Organic Decrease of the 
Cortical Regulation: Experiments with Cases of Mental Retarda- 
tion (Oligergasia, Oligophrenia) 

4. Structure of the Reactive Processes in Functional Disturbances of 
the Cortical Regulators 

5. Structure of the Reactive Processes with Injury of the Higher 
Psychological Systems 

6. The Nature of the Functional Barrier and the Structure of the 
Reactive Processes 


1. Problems 

2. Experiments with Direct Control: Problems of Stimulus and 

3. Experiments with the Circumvention of Behaviour: the Role 
of the External Methods 

4. Experiments with Indirect Control: the R61e of Speech 

5. Complex Forms of Circuitous Reactions 

6. Experiments with Symbolic Circuition 






WE are concerned here with the investigation of the 
disorganisation of human behaviour, with the mech- 
anism of its falling and rising. Certainly we are not the 
first on this path ; therefore, the necessity to define its methodo- 
logical position and to indicate how our concepts diverge from 
those of former dissertations. 

Our work should begin with the establishing of our fundamen- 
tal approach to human behaviour, the terminology and inherent 

Correct and worth-while work in this epoch of the growth of 
science is possible only when terms and concepts strictly corre- 
spond with that which we wish to express. The labours of many 
authors known to us are unsuccessful because new thoughts have 
been concealed in old and inadequate expressions; primitive 
concepts are not suitable for the development of knowledge. 
In numerous other researches with which we are acquainted, 
the new terms employed do not convey new ideas but are clut- 
tered with old truths not requiring a departure from the con- 
cepts inherent in the former terms. 

Words express definite conceptions, and the successful author 
first chooses carefully thought-out words in order that carefully 
thought-out methodological conceptions will constitute the basis 
of his investigation. 

We should begin our work with a consideration of the con- 
ception of organisation and the outline of these principal ideas 
which we include under this term. The twentieth century has 
brought a remarkable change in the style and content of scien- 



tific thought, an enormous progress in manufacturing technique 
on the one hand, and, on the other, of scientific thought. Many 
authors hope that the complicated forms of human activity will 
be easily explained from an analogy to machines and that the 
time is near when the most vital processes will be conceived as 
the mechanism of a machine remarkably more complicated than 
a machine made by the human hand but run along the same 
general principles. It would be an interesting work to follow the 
complete history of the twentieth-century natural science of 
analogy, built by the investigators, a history of those models 
which are accepted as a basis for the construction of ideas con- 
cerning forms and mechanisms of human vital activity. This 
history should reveal many nai've sources of human thought, and 
certainly there is not a more attractive territory than the history 
of nai've philosophy. This tendency to introduce naive concepts, 
to explain the nervous system on the basis of analogies with 
artificial things is more common in the study of behaviour than 
anywhere else. 

The idea of the nervous system as a most complicated system, 
of a series of separate apparatuses, acting, thanks to very deli- 
cate and changeable connections, in a manner comparable to 
the telephone system, was considered the basic theory of nervous 
activity almost from the very first. But in the second half 
of the nineteenth century it appeared that we had already reached 
the limit of understanding the secret of this complicated machine. 
I remember the antiquated formula upon which was based the 
history of diseases in the psychiatric institutes of that time. 
On the principal sheet was drawn a colored chart of the brain. 
An investigating physician had to register thereon with great 
exactness those affections which "lie at the basis of the disease." 

The model of the telephone station, a brilliant criticism of 
which has been recently given by K. S. Lashley, 1 has been con- 
tinually introduced in neurological conceptions, even up to the 
present time. Together with this there were a series of concep- 
tions always introduced when the fundamental laws of human 
behaviour were mentioned. 

On this basis, concealed almost in every structure of psycho- 
neurology were the conceptions having to do with the structure 
of the psychical apparatus, considering them as a series of 
separate and self-sufficient mechanisms arranged by the help 

X K. S. Lashley: Basic Neural Mechanisms in Behaviour, Psychological Re- 
view, 1930. 


of the connecting excitations and inhibitions in a definite rela- 
tion with one another. 

In effect, if the whole nervous apparatus consisted of separate 
neurons, and the brain were nothing more than a centralisation 
of them and their conduits by which they are connected, then 
all the laws of behaviour must be inevitably evidenced in those 
laws which already hold for the individual neurons. The whole 
of behaviour might be understood merely as a preservation of 
equilibrium between the separate apparatuses of the nervous sys- 
tem ; its pathology as a destruction of this equilibrium. 

Here we immediately come into a circle of the basic concep- 
tions which are used in almost all contemporary psychoneurology, 
and which unavoidably ensue from the analogy upon which it 
was constructed. 

The elementary processes of excitation and inhibition are the 
basic ones which are found in every nerve cell ; they are carried 
throughout the whole organism, and the most eminent objective 
school of psychoneurology attempts to explain every process of 
behaviour in the terms of excitation and inhibition. At any given 
moment certain cells of the nervous system are in a state of 
excitation, others in a state of inertness, and yet others in a 
phase of inhibition. The normal behaviour of the human is con- 
sequently examined as a preservation of a certain equilibrium 
between the inhibitory and excitatory processes. 

In pathological cases this equilibrium is disturbed first of all ; 
and the behaviour deviating from the normal is the activity which 
is primarily characterised by the predominance of the inhibition 
and excitations. 1 

In all these cases the processes of excitation and inhibition* 
are generally the same elementary processes which occur in the 
isolated nerve preparation, and the inhibitory or excitatory ac- 
tivity of the systems is governed not by specific laws having to 
do with the structure of the whole organism, but by the law of 
the above elementary physiological processes. 

But can we express all the forms of organisation or disorganisa- 
tion of human behaviour in terms of elementary inhibition and 
excitation? Does this conception explain adequately those phe- 
nomena, the analysis of which is treated by psychoneurology? 

Researches in human behaviour, both normal and pathological, 
lead us to doubt the adequacy of these fundamental conceptions. 
The facts which we observed convincingly show that behaviour 

1 See I. P. Pavlov: Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, International Publish- 
ers, New York. 


cannot be explained as an equilibrium of the separate systems, 
that the concept of elementary inhibition and excitation (not 
being included in the highest and specific whole) are completely 
inadequate, and that the disease of any of the mechanisms does 
not by any means always call out the same affect, and often 
causes general changes, comprehensible only from a most compli- 
cated functional reciprocity of the internal behaviour. 

We shall purposely take an example of an organic illness in 
which the disease of a special system might lead us to believe 
that there would result only a partial and organic disturbance 
in the activity of the organism. A very simple example is that 
of aphasia, in which there is a disturbance of the complicated 
function of speech and symbolic activity. Let us examine the 
behaviour here. The thing that strikes us most forcibly is marked 
confusion. Experimentally the aphasiac cannot elaborate fairly 
simple acts nor complete an elementary chain of actions ; a com- 
plicated situation causes confusion; a more difficult problem, 
complete disorganisation of the behaviour. 

Can we understand this case as only a failure of a separate 
system, or can it be expressed in terms of inhibition and excita- 
tion? It is with the greatest difficulty that we state the facts 
before us in such elementary terms, because of not having in- 
cluded them in a more complex whole, nor having preceded our 
construction with the analysis of that complicated structure of 
reciprocal relations into which these functions enter. 

An attempt to express this state as a complicated mosaic of 
inhibition and excitation does not by any means satisfy us. 
Undoubtedly both the forces of neuro-dynamics excitation and 
inhibition are included in our phenomena ; but it would be a 
naive representation to presuppose that they are created from 
those elementary processes which are easily observed in the nerve 
preparations. Inhibition and excitation are included here in a 
higher complex whole, and may be understood only on this basis. 
Entering into the whole, they inevitably acquire a new qualitative 
significance, inhibiting as well as organising the role of speech. 
Can this be only according to the terms and basic elements of 
identity with those primitive functions which are known to the 
physiologists ? 

The characteristic mechanisms of complicated human be- 
haviour can be understood only on a basis of adequate concep- 
tions. But these conceptions should first take into account the 
whole organisation of behaviour: its structure and dynamics. 

The structure of the organism presupposes not an accidental 


mosaic, but a complex organisation of separate systems. This 
organisation is expressed paramountly in a functional correlation 
of these systems, in that they do not combine one with the other 
in an accidental way, but they unite as very definite parts into 
an integrated functional structure. 

The basic features of this total structural organisation of be- 
haviour is a functional inequality of the different systems entering 
into it; certain systems appear as governing and regulating, 
others as subordinate, executing one or another function. It is 
clear that the significance of these in the system of organisation 
is not always the same, and the whole activity of the organism 
can be understood only as a dynamic system, a conditioned ac- 
tivity of its component parts. It is difficult to describe this 
system in terms of inhibition and excitation ; it is considerably 
more adequate to consider here the conception of organisation 
and disorganisation, regulating the destruction of the system of 
behaviour. In these we see a far greater possibility of under- 
standing the dynamics of behaviour than if we approach the 
subject from those mechanical conceptions which we have 
described above. 

The behaviour of the aphasic would be more comprehensible 
to us if we attempted to depict him in the terms of organisation 
and disorganisation. We will then proceed on the basis of those 
concepts only. The destruction and organisation would thus be 
completely comprehensible to us. The cortex and especially its 
highest parts have for a long time been described as having a 
regulating function; this function was discussed in a series of 
special investigations (we still have our own opinion here) on 
speech and symbolic activity. By this fact, speech and the 
higher psychological processes were separated from a series of 
other processes playing a special, regulating and leading role 
in behaviour. It is comprehensible that an injury to these should 
call out not a partial destruction of definite processes, but the 
destruction of the whole system of behaviour which is shown 
to be incapable of functioning with a destroyed executive regu- 
lating system. The confusion which we observed in the behaviour 
of the aphasiac, the uncertainty of all his activity, the disor- 
ganisation of his behaviour, which has been so brilliantly de- 
scribed by Head, 1 is comprehensible if we direct our attention to 
the neuropsychiatric apparatus as a system of separate partial 
apparatuses capable of being inhibited or stimulated. We shall 
proceed from this conception of organisation of behaviour con- 

1 Henry Head, Aphasia, Vols. i and 2, London, 1928. 


nected with an apportioning of the executive regulating systems. 

The mechanisms of inhibition and excitation serve us admirably 
to understand the processes of regulation and destruction, but 
they participate as a part of the mechanisms in the general 
purpose, and will be best understood only in the light of the 
complicated dynamic relation of the separate systems of the 

Organisation and disorganisation of human behaviour, condi- 
tions, laws and forms appear thus as the most important problems 
of psychobiology l and these which have concerned us for a 
number of years refer precisely to this chapter of the science 
of personality. 

We have pointed out the chief principles lying at the basis of 
our researches; but we will now describe some of the concrete 
steps taken in the realisation of these principles. 

The conception of "organisation" is to a certain degree opposed 
to a mechanical conception of the organism as an equilibrium 
of its component parts, in that it is adequate for an analysis of 
some of the more complicated processes of human behaviour. 
Nevertheless, it will remain a barren explanation as long as we 
do not give to it a more sharply defined specific content. 

The conception of structure and organisation does actually 
make up most of the new psychoneurology, and based on these 
concepts are the latest ideas expressed by Kohler, Koffka, Wert- 
heimer, K. Goldstein, Lashley, Child and others. 

We must clearly define a number of ideas which arose during 
the early part of our work. 

The conception of organisation and destruction still does not 
disclose those mechanisms which lie at their base, and the most 
varied dynamic relations may be concealed behind these terms. 
The history of scientific thought shows that two methodologies 
of false construction may be easily associated with the principle 
of organisation. The first of these is included in its universality. 
Having accepted it as a basis, we, too, easily see in it a certain 
general law, which appears equally in mechanics, in physics, 
and in neuropsychiatry and social life; and many authors have 
proceeded along the path of the universality of this principle. 
The logical consequence of this procedure is the wish to carry 
the complicated forms of organisation of behaviour into general 
laws which have already been observed in physics. 

1 We use this term psychobiology (instead of the more vague and general 
ones psychoneurology, etc.) as applied by Adolf Meyer to indicate the or- 
ganismal personality with all of its functions. Translator. 


Many psychoneurologists, having proved that approximately 
analogous laws govern the complicated forms of behaviour as 
they do tension in the physical world, cannot find in this wealth 
of relation any specific function not found elsewhere outside of 
human behaviour and without which it remains inaccessible for 
study. In particular, the extension of the principle of organisation 
into the domain of a general law inevitably leads us to ignore 
and misunderstand the details of human neurodynamics and the 
highest and specific forms of behaviour always remain beyond 
the field of vision of the mechanists. The opposite danger is 
represented by those who connect the principles of organisation 
with a vital structure. 

Is it necessary to say that precisely these structures, counting 
the higher forms of organisation as the products of some special 
forces, exclude every possibility for a scientific investigation 
of the mechanism of this organisation and replace analysis with 
the postulation of some new existence, obscure and not adaptable 
to analysis? It should not confuse us that the best minds 1 often 
made a mistake precisely here, and that, abandoning the prin- 
ciple of integral activity of the organism, they proceeded to the 
recognition of a new and specific force bringing about this in- 
tegration. The mistake does not arise here from a false principle ; 
but it points only to a defect of methodology. 

We begin with the view that in the organisation of behaviour 
there are some general laws operative, dependent upon the inclu- 
sion of some special vital forces. The organisation of adult human 
behaviour is the product of a fairly complicated and long devel- 
opment. The forms of organisation of behaviour in the first stages 
of this development are certainly something else than those 
forms of organisation which differentiate more complex behaviour, 
#nd we can the sooner say this development proceeds along the 
path of dominating the primitive laws, rather than along the 
path of simple repetitions of them in their new stages. 

The problem of human behaviour proves, as we think, to be 
the problem of development, and only on this path can we attain 
to an understanding of the mechanism lying at the basis of the 
activity of the human personality. 

The material in this book (which is discussed in detail in 
Part Three) makes us think that the genesis of organised human 
behaviour is through the development and inclusion of all the 
new regulating systems, which overcome the primitive forms of 

1 See Monakow and Mourgue: Introduction biologique a Vetude de neuro- 
logic et de la psycho-pathologie, 1928. 


behaviour and transfer them to that which is a new and a more 
systematised organisation. 

There is every reason to suppose that the primitive forms of 
organisation of behaviour, characterised by the sub-cortical type 
of activity, are completely transformed into the processes of the 
highest development, and the question of age ceases to play 
the leading role in general behaviour. This replacement of one 
type of behaviour with another is connected with the develop- 
ment of newly regulated systems, coming into conflict with the 
primitive sub-cortical activity and overcoming it, creating all 
the new forms of organisation. 

These new forms of organisation are not at all organised as 
many authors think by the development of inhibition and the 
restraining influence of the cortex on sub-cortical activity. The 
development of neurodynamics from early childhood to an adult 
age results in a gradual overcoming of a primitive diffusion in 
the activity of the nervous system and the elaboration of the 
new functionally organised forms of behaviour. In this process, 
the higher cortical mechanism does much more than play a simple 
negative role; it is owing precisely to this participation in be- 
haviour that there are included those regulating systems, which 
transfer the organisation of behaviour to the higher and higher 
stages and create new forms heretofore not existing. 

The development of the child results not only in the inhibition 
of the primitive forms of activity of the nervous system ; it pro- 
ceeds along the path of the general development of regulation 
which begins with the primitive aspects of instinctive capabilities, 
and, with the help of the development of the higher psychological 
mechanisms, it approaches the most complicated forms of control 
of its behaviour. The inclusion of these activities in the behaviour 
of the child began with the complicated organic mechanism 
and then with the higher cultural systems conditioning new 
forms of organisation. This conception completely loses any uni- 
versal character it may have for us, and at the same time it is 
by no means necessary to include here any conception of vital 
forces. In a completely concrete analysis of the organisation of 
behaviour, we think of it as a function of definite regulating 
systems, unequal at the various stages of the development of 
behaviour, and fully accessible through scientific analysis. 

If in the examination of the principles lying at the basis of 
organised behaviour, we began with the idea of development and 
structural scheme of behaviour, different at the various stages 
of development, then we should carry with us the same idea 


when we pass over to an investigation of the disorganisation of 
human behaviour. 

One feature is shown by a characteristic found in nearly all 
our works dealing with an investigation of the peculiarity of 
disorganised human behaviour. Although many authors studying 
human behaviour (normal) always attempted to understand its 
general structure, they failed to do this when they passed over 
to the investigation of such processes as affect, conflict, and 
neurosis. To investigate in this territory the existing structures, 
to find lawfulness in chaos, of course, seemed far more compli- 
cated and sometimes more or less senseless ; and confirming "that 
affect is a disease of the mind," the majority of authors decided 
not to examine it as a form of behaviour obeying its own par- 
ticular law, and were satisfied with a simple description of the 
various pathological states. 

When science attained the possibility of studying objectively 
psychological phenomena, a new phase was reached, but in the 
main there was no improvement. Such authors decided that to 
speak of disorganisation of behaviour as a psychological subject 
was fairly difficult, and that when the person "loses his equi- 
librium" the behaviour falls under the influence of certain physio- 
logical processes, losing its specific psychologically organised 
character. The same affect, or neurosis, and this was still more 
marked with psychoses, began to be considered as physiological 
or pathological phenomena; and in its study they considered 
sufficient a description of the several physiological symptoms 
characterising it. The James-Lange theory of emotion was the 
theoretical justification of such a capitulation of psychological 
investigation and the transfer of the whole domain of affect to 
pure physiology. 

It is thus perfectly clear, that, proceeding along this path, 
science naturally rejected the theory of disorganisation of be- 
haviour, which for many years was substituted by a physiological 
symptom complex of disorganisation. Neither Wundt nor those 
who followed him avoided this difficulty, and the present in- 
vestigator, attempting to work in this field, finds that he is 
building on air, or, in any case, on very uncertain ground. 

The difficulty of this symptomatological point of view con- 
cerning affect and disorganisation of behaviour was overcome by 
the physiologists themselves. Cannon's researches proved that 
the separate physiological symptoms do not by any means com- 
pletely describe affect, and for a satisfactory explanation we 
must consider the whole function of the organism. In the actual 


exposition of the problem, Cannon l showed convincingly that 
the affect itself can be understood only as a function of the 
animal's behaviour, and that its structure cannot be completely 
investigated in those structural relations which characterised the 
behaviour of the animal in a concrete situation and which evoke 
in the cortex, and through it in the sub-cortical apparatus, a 
very definite configuration of excitation. 

From a different angle this problem was approached by another 
great physiologist Pavlov. 2 His brilliant experiments showed 
clearly that affect is not a completely specific state with constant 
characteristics and definite symptoms. The affect itself can be 
understood only with the total behaviour of the animal, and it is 
a product of this activity, the result of a definite disturbance 
in the behaviour. Pavlov obtained very definite affective "breaks," 
an acute disorganisation of behaviour, each time that the condi- 
tioned reflexes collided, when the animal was unable to react to 
two mutually exclusive tendencies, or was incapable of adequately 
responding to any imperative problem. 

In both of these cases in the investigations of Cannon and 
Pavlov they directed more attention to the affect than to the 
disorganisation of the behaviour, and abandoning the description 
of the separate symptoms, they considered with all seriousness 
the question of its causation, mechanism, and dynamics. 

If the affect stands in dependence upon the general activity 
of the organism, and is manifested when something happens to 
this activity, then it is perfectly clear that in its study we must 
use other methods and conceptions than those which were 
ascribed to it in the descriptions of the various physiological 
symptoms. At the same time, there was introduced a new neces- 
sity, a psychical concept. The investigator began from an entirely 
new point of view to be interested in the question of the relation 
of affect to the general activity and its structure, to verbal 
behaviour, to general forms of regulation of human activity; he 
began to approach the structure of its different types, its influ- 
ence upon the social activity of the human. These problems, 
which were without meaning or non-existent in the physiological 
examination of affect, took the first place in its examination by 
the psychologists. 3 

1 W. B. Cannon: The James-Lange Theory of Emotions, American Journal 
of Psychology, Dec. 1927. 

2 I. P. Pavlov, Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, International Publishers, 
N. Y., 1929. 

In using the term "psychological," we do not by any means consider a 
subjective study of affect obligatory. We simply want to say that the problem 


Many psychologists 1 have attempted, so it seems to us, to introduce 
affect into the system of active human behaviour; but in the study of 
affect as a part of the system of pure psychology John Dewey (i) was 
perhaps the first to show the close connection between emotion and human 
activity, advancing the hypothesis that emotion appears when human 
activity is obstructed. Watson (2), Kantor (3), Marston (4), Mac- 
Curdy (5), came to the same conclusions from their investigations, 
showing that emotional behaviour actually depends upon how freely the 
tension which is produced in the nervous apparatus as a result of one 
or another condition is discharged. Finally, K. Lewin (6), attempted 
to show, in a series of carefully executed experiments, a more sharply 
marked relation between the processes of tension, discharge, and affection. 

For the psychologist studying affect, a fairly stable theoretical 
basis is thus laid down, and we now see that in this question 
several general points of view are admitted, and the concrete 
investigation begins. 

If the affect actually is determined by activity, then, on the 
basis of the concrete investigations, we should expect that pre- 
cisely this is to be a fundamental supposition in the experimental 
study of affect, and that the investigation of disorganisation of 
behaviour proceeds exactly along the path of the study of affect 
as a form of human activity. But to our regret we have not yet 
been able to confirm tbis. The psychological experiment turns 
out to be a conservative psychological theory, and the scores of 
psychological laboratories continue to concern themselves with 
a description of the individual characteristics of the affective 
symptoms of respiration, heart beat, mimicry, psychogalvanic 
phenomena completely forgetting to study the function of those 
separate moments in the general dynamics of behaviour, and to 
connect this study with the participation of those systems which 
in the organisation of behaviour and in its disorganisation un- 
doubtedly play the decisive role. In order to do this, we study 
the symptoms, mechanism, dynamics of affect, as one of the 

of affect is introduced in the method of studying personality and its active 

1 1. J. Dewey: The Theory of Emotion, Psychological Review, i, 1894; 
2, 1895- 

2. J. B. Watson: Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behavionst, 1919, 
New York. 

3. J. R. Kantor: Principles of Psychology, 1924-1926. The Psychology of 
Feeling and Affective Reactions, American Journal of Psychology, 1023. ^An 
Attempt towards a Naturalistic Description of Emotion, Psychological Review, 

4. W. M. Marston: Emotions of Normal People, 1928. 

5. J. T. MacCurdy: Psychology of Emotions, 1925. 

6. K. Lewin: Wille, Vorsatz und Bedurfniss, 1925. Die Entwichlung der 
modernen Willenspsychologie und Psychotherapie, 1929, 


existing forms of disorganisation of human behaviour. We try 
especially to think of the conditions of the origin of this dis- 
organisation, of those systems which play decisive roles, and to 
apply to physiological processes the methodology of psychology, 
not for a minute forgetting that we are studying the structure 
and function of human behaviour. 


THE work on our problem proves that in order to study in as 
detailed a way as possible the mechanism of disorganisation of 
human behaviour and to establish certain laws, we should first 
take into consideration the fact that the disturbance of behaviour 
during the affective processes or in neuroses is not always the 
same, but that its destruction may be of several different types 
and that it follows its own special laws. The disorganization of 
behaviour must also have its own structure, and we should 
investigate it first as we do the structure of the organic psycho- 
logical processes. This problem is far from being a simple one, 
and it is necessary to define those paths which lead us to its 
successful solution. 

But first we should challenge the attempts of the subjective 
study of the problem before us. Empirical psychology, trying 
to divine the details of the affective processes through penetra- 
tive introspection, gave us an excellent description of the emo- 
tional states, but was completely powerless to create any kind 
of stable basis for the mechanics of affect, and even less for a 
dynamic explanation of these emotions. The barrenness of the 
idealistic psychology indicated, more than anywhere else in its 
study of emotion and affect and in the detailed descriptions of 
the various "mental phenomena," that there had been no further 
progress in the advance of our realistic knowledge concerning the 
mechanisms of human behaviour. 

It is clear that the failure of the pure subjective analysis 
cannot force the psychologist along the path of the study of 
"simultaneous affect" of the bodily phenomena to investigate 
the structure and dynamics of affective processes. That step 
which Wundt formally took to direct attention to affective psy- 
chological-physiology was a great stride forward in the history 
of psychological science; however, many decades after the first 
physiological method of study of affect, it was apparent from the 
trials of Wundt that there were many methodological errors, and 


that the application of his method, although an enormous revo- 
lutionary impetus, could not really elucidate the matter. 

Turning to the physiological paths of investigation of emotion, 
Wundt in reality could not abandon his phenomenal apparatus, 
and he approached it with those methodological principles which 
guided him in all of his psychological investigations. 

The basic methodological position of the majority of the 
psychologists of that time consisted in the recognition of the 
fact that the psychologist must first of all describe that which 
he observed and must analyse it subjectively. On the other hand, 
in the decomposition of the observed phenomenon into its ele- 
mentary components, many psychologists, as well as the natural 
scientists of that epoch, considered this their chief problem. 

This descriptive mosaical stage proved ruinous for psychology, 
delaying its development for several decades. The ordinary work 
of the psychologist consisted in enumeration of the separate 
phenomena accompanying one or another psychological process, 
leading to a certain generalised theoretical situation, at best only 
to an explanation of the described phenomena. The problem of 
the structure of the whole process usually was relegated to an 
empirical description of the separate phenomena and symptoms, 
and the theory of explanation in nearly all the works of the 
psychologist-empiricist was fatally separated from the observed 
facts by an abyss. 

In the investigation of the affective processes this method 
demanded much attention and led to an establishment of that 
view of the affective processes which lay at the basis of Wundt's 
psychological method of the study of emotion. This point of view 
might be expressed paradoxically: affect is not an act of be- 
haviour but is a reaction to a series of psychological symptoms. 
This reached its paramount theory in the peripheral theory of 

Observing the emotional processes, investigators saw that they 
depended upon many parallel phenomena: acceleration or slow- 
ing of association, change in respiration, frequency of pulse, and 
distention of blood vessels. Attempting to explain the physio- 
logical origin of affect, the positively minded authors usually 
directed their attention to those phenomena whose interrelations 
they understood very poorly but which seemed to them to be 
the source of the affective states. This assertion stood for a time 
as the basis of the peripheral theory of emotion, and affect began 
to be described "as the union of certain motor innervations in 
the vegetative symptoms." 


The peripheral symptoms of emotion were first investigated 
a long time ago; but their study had led to no definite results. 
In spite of a multitude of attempts to discover in the separate 
psychological symptoms an adequate reflection of the affective 
process, all these trials to establish a unified and clear-cut picture 
of the psychological emotional state, producing exact changes in 
the breathing, pulse, and vaso-dilators were unsuccessful. One 
and the same affect in the hands of different authors gave far 
from the same symptoms accompanying varying and frequently 
completely different combinations of physiological changes. 
Wundt's attempts, and also those of many other authors, to 
defend the position of the exceedingly complicated theory of emo- 
tion, did not make the physiological symptoms a more stable 
basis for the study of affect, and the recent publications of the 
detailed experimental data x at best give us the right to say that 
affect is connected with a certain disorganisation of the ordinary 
course of the vegetative normal processes. 

The more serious defects of all those attempts to study the 
affective processes by describing the individual physiological 
symptoms prove, however, the complete impossibility of com- 
paring these symptoms with the details of human behaviour and 
the futility of drawing any definite conclusions aboyt the struc- 
ture of the psychological processes. But do the established physio- 
logical symptoms give us the possibility to say anything about 
the degree of activity or passivity of the process under con- 
sideration, about whether there is at its basis some conflict or 
experience resulting from an external trauma ; is there here any 
vacillation of the subject, or is the process characterised by a 
continued uniform disorganisation? 

These questions cannot find in the physiological symptoms any 
kind of answer, because the processes lie in an entirely different 
plane from that of our problems. We inquired into the structure 
of behaviour and attempted to find an answer in the analysis 
of the individual physiological changes of behaviour, which it 
was possible to understand, however, only from the general 
structure of the whole process. 

Precisely this last assertion changes our relation to the accom- 
panying physiological symptoms. Considering then their sec- 
ondary affects, arising as a result of the general change in 
behaviour, we consider them upon the structure of this behaviour 
and we certainly are not astonished that, in the change of this 
structure, the reciprocal relations of the different vegetative 

1 L6wenstein: Experimentelle Hysterielehre, JBonn, 1923. 


symptoms are completely altered. On the contrary, all attempts 
to study the structure of the affective disorganisation of behaviour 
without considering the alteration in the behaviour itself appears 
to us wide of the mark. The bad beginning cannot, in any case, 
lead to successful results; for the basic factor producing these 
secondary symptoms, having different significance in the varying 
structure of behaviour, is senseless and already destined to fail. 
It is thus natural that all our attention, which was earlier given 
to the different physiological symptoms, should be transferred 
to the investigation of the alterations in the structure of behaviour 
during affect; from an observation of the peripheral symptoms, 
we turn to the study of the structure of the central processes, and 
it is here that we expect to find the key to a possibly complete 
understanding of the whole disorganisation of behaviour. 

In thus shifting our attention to the central processes, we are in step 
with the leading physiologists. The researches of Cannon * are of ex- 
traordinary interest; he showed experimentally that the complete excision 
of the viscera did not result in a decrease of emotion, and that the 
animal after the operation gave evidence of all the signs of affective 
behaviour, in spite of the fact that the visceral components were com- 
pletely absent. These experiments confirm that the physiological changes 
usually considered as the basis for the affective processes, in reality, 
are only secondary and accompanying processes, the diminution of which 
does not remove the affect. For the James-Lange theory, as well as for 
the ordinary physiological method, attempting the study of the effect of 
behaviour on the basis of unified secondary symptoms, these experiments 
are fatal, and scientific thought is proceeding along another path in the 
study of affective experiences and affective behaviour. 

The investigation starting from the active processes of be- 
haviour is, as we think, more adequate for the study of affect 
and affective disorganisation. Only in the alterations of the active 
forms of human activity can we hope to find a suitable reflection 
of that structure of the affective processes in which we are in- 
terested. Many motives forced us along this path. 

On the one hand, there are a series of causal dynamic con- 
siderations. We begin with the hypothesis that the affective dis- 
organisation of behaviour is connected intimately with the Fate 
of the active processes. The affect appears when something hap- 
pens with the organised phenomena of activity; therefore, it 
should be reasonable to hope to obtain a more adequate structure 
of the affective process by the investigation of the fate of the 
active functions connected with this process. 

1 W. B. Cannon and others: Some Aspects of the Physiology of Animals 
Surviving Complete Exclusion of the Sympathetic Nervous System f American 
Journal of Physiology, 1929. 


The second consideration follows immediately after the first: 
only a system of active behaviour speech or motor appears 
capable of manifesting an actual structure, changing under the 
influence of the affective behaviour. All the interesting events 
for us, which cannot be expressed by the physiological symptoms, 
are fully obtained in the structure of the active "spontaneous" 

We may at a glance trace here the variation and conflict of 
the experimental, active or passive, character of its reaction, the 
disturbance of the process and its control. The complicated 
character of the behaviour, directed to a known external activity, 
allows us with great exactitude to estimate not only the general 
character of the disturbance, but indeed to ascertain in which 
system of activity, in which of its phases, "beginning, or con- 
cluding motor," arose those changes calling out the characteristic 
disorganisation of behaviour. We turn here, consequently, in a 
new direction in the investigation of the affective processes, 
replacing the study of the symptoms by the investigation of the 
structure, switching from the path of physiology to that of 

Taking upon ourselves the problem of the study of the struc- 
ture and dynamics of the processes of the disorganisation of 
human behaviour, we should stand firmly upon the ground of the 
psychological experimenters; we should on the one hand, pro- 
duce the central process of the disorganisation of behaviour ; on 
the other hand, we should try to reflect this process in some 
system accessible and suitable for examination. The motor func- 
tion is such a systematic, objectively reflected structure of the 
neuro-dynamic processes concealed from immediate examination. 
And there lies before us the use of the motor function as a system 
of reflected structure of hidden psychological processes. Thus 
we proceed along the path which we call the combined motor 

The motor functions of the human being serve as the subject of study 
of the great majority of authors. These fall into two general groups: 
in one group, as, for example, Hamburger, Foerster, Magnus, Kleist, 
Gurevitch, movement is the subject of the entire investigation. The 
problem which these authors face consists in studying the development 
of movement, coordination, and motor formulae, and their destruction in 
certain diseases of the nervous system. They investigate the motor 
function physiologically as one of the component parts of the vital 
activity of the organism, frequently concealing symptoms indicative 
of the very serious disturbance of the nervous system. 

The other group of investigators proceed in a different manner. The 


motor activity of the human being offers them not the goal but only 
a means of studying the complicated psychological-physiological proc- 
esses. They are interested in the structure of movement per se, but only 
as a reflection of certain changes concealed from immediate observation. 
Therefore, not all of the details of the motor activity, but only those 
which are directly connected with the psychological changes are of in- 
terest to the investigators of this group (Sommer, Lowenstein, Isserlin, 
Kraepelin, Lehrman, Kornilov). To this group belong those investigators 
who have tried to find a reflection of the complicated psychological proc- 
esses in certain partial motor functions, as, for example, in handwriting. 

The first group of authors are distinguished for their detailed neuro- 
logical analysis of the motor functions; whereas the second group, for 
whom the motor activity is only a door to the recognition of those proc- 
esses which are of interest, consider this analysis of the motor indicators 
of much less importance, and indeed some of the investigators possess 
only a slight technical ability. However, this has not disturbed the essen- 
tial principles of their work, because, in this case, not the structure of 
movement itself but only a reflection in it, of the complicated psycho- 
logical processes, is for them the chief subject of research. The transfer 
of the main topic of discussion to the reflection of the hidden psycho- 
logical processes at once makes the investigation more complicated. The 
problem arises to differentiate the motor changes which are the products 
of the psychological influence from those resulting from the organic 
peculiarities of its activity the problem appears here with all its pre- 
ciseness, and can be decided only by a very careful, detailed, and com- 
parative analysis. 

In this classification our work as a whole is more closely allied with 
the second group of investigators. We are only very slightly interested 
in the motor activities of the subject per se; with the constitutional 
typical analysis of the differences of movement, flow of speech, co- 
ordination, intensity, and speed of movement these do not interest us 
insofar as they are not connected with the structure of the psychological 
processes. In our investigation we should constantly meet with the study 
of the motor activities; but these will serve us only as a path to the 
concealed psychological processes, only the systemic reflection of their 
structures, Therefore, our studies are not typological but are functional. 

The chief problem of this investigation is to explain the laws 
of the disorganisation of human behaviour, the conditions under 
which they arise, and the way in which they are overcome. 
Therefore, we should study the structure of the disappearance 
and origin of this behaviour in those reactions entering into its 
real composition. 

We rejected the view that, in order to study the reflection 
of the disorganisation of behaviour it was necessary to investigate 
the changes of the vegetative activity. We will not follow along 
the same path as the physiologists of the nervous system, and 
we shall not incorporate into the bases of our method the 
investigation of how the reflexes change under the influence of 


a general disturbance of the structure of behaviour. The investi- 
gation of the reflex activity is hardly more suitable in itself as 
an index of the structure of the changing human behaviour than 
is the isolated study of the vegetative system. The reflex move- 
ment, composing perhaps the genetic basis of behaviour, enters 
into the composition of active behaviour only as a separate 
category, defined by the most complicated circumstances and 
mechanisms of personality, and losing its form in the active 
behaviour. To investigate the reflection of the structural changes 
in behaviour in the elementary reflexes would be to carry the 
investigation along under great disadvantage, forcing the com- 
plicated processes to be revealed inadequately by an elementary 
and slightly changing phenomena ; therefore, it is entirely unsuited 
for a complete description of function. 

Studying the objective forms of reflection of the complicated 
central changes, we do not intend to explain this complicated 
structure of disorganisation of human behaviour in elementary 
units. This would be contradictory to our fundamental meth- 
odology. In our opinion, the adequate can be expressed success- 
fully only in the adequate, and the structure of the disturbed 
behaviour can be revealed only in those fractions of behaviour 
accessible for study: this should include in its composition all 
the basic mechanisms, the basic instances which enter into the 
whole behaviour. 

We have become convinced of the necessity of accepting as 
a basis for our method of study, the spontaneous movements, 
having included them in a known experimental system, in an 
attempt to investigate the characteristic changes of the disorgani- 
sation of behaviour. Certainly, the affect causes great fluctuations 
in the motor activity ; if the affect is not accidentally related to 
the section of the human behaviour we are studying, if we con- 
sider the given disorganisation of behaviour to consist in the 
particularities of the systems of behaviour under investigation, 
then the disturbance will be involuntarily and definitely expressed 
in the sections of activity which we will record. We shall study 
the involuntary destruction of the voluntary movements ; we con- 
sider this a more adequate path to a better understanding of 
the disorganisation of behaviour. 

One objection which can be raised to our desire to accept the study 
of the voluntary movements as a basis will be that involuntary fluctua- 
tions occur. In order that our problem will be successful, it is necessary 
that it should be actually possible to divide these involuntary changes 
from the voluntary. In a word, it is essential that the voluntary be 


stable. But many psychophysiologists seriously doubt that the voluntary 
movements satisfy this requisite. Even its name indicates a certain 
volition, a certain instability; hence the impression that we are building 
our investigation on sand and that the voluntary movements we obtain 
fluctuate each time, and that we cannot estimate accurately these varia- 
tions underlying the affective changes. 

Voluntary movements are not less regular nor less stable than the 
reflexes, and to a certain degree even more so than the mechanical 
movements which are always taken as a model of stability and exactitude. 
It is true, however, that in one respect there is a real difference between 
the mechanical movement and organic movement, particularly voluntary 
movements. While mechanical movements, arising under the same con- 
ditions, always have the same form, the organic movements undoubtedly 
are characterised by a great plasticity under the same conditions they 
may not be of identical form in the separate details, but they remain, 
however, absolutely identical in their general scheme, in their funda- 
mental "motor formula." 

The presence of such a movement-formula is the recognised character- 
istic for all voluntary movements, and the variations of this usual motor 
scheme are no more voluntary than the change of form in any mechanical 
movement. If, in the scheme of movements, any change occurs, we 
may rightly look for certain organic or functional situations which may 
have altered the scheme; therefore, precisely this analysis of voluntary 
movement can prove to be the path to a sufficiently exact diagnosis 
of the concealed destruction of the nervous apparatus and the fluctuations 
of those conditions under which the nervous apparatus performs its 

A voluntary movement within its own scheme reveals a far 
greater stability than we might suppose, and from this point 
of view it is no less advantageous, fundamentally, for the study 
of the concomitant disorganisation of the behaviour than an 
involuntary movement, and any doubt as to its stability can be 
dissipated in the first analysis of the material. 

In Figure i we see a cyclographic record of three motor strokes 
taken on one and the same photographic plate. 

We have taken purposely an example of a fairly complicated 
voluntary movement, in which we might expect the maximal 
variation and instability of form; this illustration shows us, 
however, that there is no essential variation: three complex 
voluntary movements are identical in the scheme, within its 
limits, and they so resemble one another that we are often 
unable in the same record to differentiate them. These slight 
digressions which we find between the trajectories of these three 
movements do not lead to any confusion, because they do not 
represent a situation of the scheme but only an inconsiderable 
variation in its performance, by no means changing the funda- 
mental "movement-formula." 


If this is the state of affairs with a comparatively compli- 
cated movement, then with similar movements it is much more 
evident, and many inherited reactions (let us say the movement 
of the toes) during one and the same trial usually reveals such 
stability that even a detailed analysis proves that its basic form 
is preserved. An examination of the claim that the voluntary 
movements are unstable proves that this statement does not 
correspond to the facts, and we have sufficient grounds to accept 
voluntary movements as a basis for our study. 


We have shown above that if we desire to trace the structure 
of the internal changes which are inaccessible to direct observa- 
tions, we can follow their reflection in the voluntary motor 
functions, and that the existing conditions enabling us to investi- 
gate the central process wherein arises that disorganisation of 
interest to us, should not be unsuitable for the reflection of the 
motor processes. We must find such a system of activity which 
will include in its parts and central process the affective dis- 
organisation concerned, and the motor process which should be 
capable of reflecting the central activity and its fate, not as 
something foreign but as a special phase, included in the whole 


structure. Only under these conditions of the participation of 
the central changes and motor-reflected processes in one general 
structure can we hope to represent adequately in our study all 
the phenomena arising in the concealed concatenation of changes. 

We find such a possibility in the principle of the active union 
of the central and motor activity. Certainly if we combine in 
one functional system two activities the central and the motor 
we can record that every central change is necessarily reflected 
primarily in that motor system, which is formed into a united 
whole, and only secondarily evokes certain changes in the physio- 
logical system to which it spreads. Such a division of the united 
dynamic structure, including in itself the central part concealed 
from direct study and the motor functions capable of being 
objectively registered, is the basic combination of the motor 
method by the help of which we have acquired the essential 
material dealt with in this volume. 1 

We can very easily create a model of such a united system 
of activity in which the character and fate of a certain concealed 
function can be reflected in the structure accessible for a direct 
experimental analysis of the objective process. In order to do 
this, it is sufficient to confront the subject with the following 
simple problem: The subject must reply to a word given him 
by the first thought which enters his mind, linguistically, pressing 
at the same time the finger of the right hand on the receiver 
of an apparatus lying in front of him. Here we stimulate in 
our subject two systems of activity which are connected with 
each other so closely that they are set in motion by two simul- 
taneously occurring activities of one and the same process. Actu- 
ally, the proposal to answer a given word by any other word 
excites in our subject a certain central process of a very compli- 
cated order, and close to the speech system. Analysing it psycho- 
logically, we can in some cases see its associative process; in 
others its primitive fate; in still others, its reintegration with 
the origin of the whole image of the details contained in the word, 
or the production of some other details entering together with 
what is represented in the word-stimulus into one and the same 

We are not here concerned with the phenomenal existence 
of this process ; and our attention is directed chiefly to the fact 

*A special article describes the details of this method: The Union of the 
Motor Method and the Investigation oj the Affective Reaction, State Institute 
of Experimental Psychology, Moscow, 1028; Die Methode der Abbildenden 
Motorik und ihre Anivendung an die Affektpsychologie, Psychol-Forschung, 
Band 12, 1929. 


that we are able to evoke a definite, very complicated neuro- 
dynamic process, concealed from immediate observation and, 
after a certain period, leading to the speech response. This neuro- 
dynamic process can be now entirely organic and regular, now 
it may meet in its path a certain obstacle with which it collides, 
and the result is a certain disorganisation. It is obvious that the 
neurodynamic process, lying at the base of the habitual associative 
answer, is actually different from the characteristic of the intel- 
lectual process, vacillating with and obstructed by the affective 
tone or by passing through different variations to the specific 
reactions. In all these cases, the structure of the neurodynamic 
processes will be, of course, very different, and to the direct and 
objective analysis it appears inaccessible. Our problem consists 
in trying, experimentally, to carry the destruction to this struc- 
ture, and by means of this application to lay emphasis on the 

The union of the motor reaction with the speech response 
serves precisely this purpose. By connecting the language response 
to the motor reaction of the hand, we create, so to speak, a 
system which is capable of reflecting objectively the whole 
dynamic character for the central neurodynamic process of the 
attention. By uniting the word response and motor reaction into 
a single process we have a method by which we can estimate 
the actual changes in this obscure process as necessarily reflected 
in a clearly defined process, and we see that the differences in 
the neurodynamic structure of the central process are reflected 
in the evident differences of structure in the motor curve. Pre- 
cisely this union of both functions into a single active system 
leads us to believe that every sharp fluctuation and every 
tendency to a speech response, and, even more so, every marked 
affective disorganised character of the central process does not 
remain without influence on the structure of the compounded 
motor reaction ; and analysing it, we have at hand a very objec- 
tive means for drawing conclusions concerning the structure of 
the internal neurodynamic process. 

We employed the combined motor method in our experiment, some 
of the details of which we shall describe. 

The subject is seated in a comfortable armchair in front of a table, 
holding in his hand a special device. The right hand lies on the table 
so that the finger tips can be used to compress the pneumatic bulb; 
the left hand during the experiment holds also an analogous apparatus. 
This is shown in Figure 2. 

In our routine experiment there is given a word-stimulus, to which the 
subject must answer by another word, and simultaneously he presses 



FIG. NO. 3 



with the fingers of the right hand the pneumatic bulb, connected with a 
recording drum, while the left hand remains passive, holding the weight 
without producing any movement. The moment of stimulation is regis- 
tered by closing an electrical key by the experimenter, and the instant 
of the response, by means of a sensitive membrane (Shirsky's system) 
which is operated by the subject's voice. 

Figure 3 shows the metal capsule especially constructed over the 
pneumatic bulb. The finger of the right hand is pressed simultaneously 
with the speech response. Every slightest tremor of the hand is regis- 
tered. Each pressure of the finger corresponds to the ascent of the curve 
on the drum, and a decrease in pressure * to the descent of the curve. 

FIG. NO. 4 


As was mentioned above, the (active) hand rests on the bulb, the 
left (passive) remains on the weight. The latter is thus held, in order 
to make its position less stable; hence it can be used as a sensitive 
indicator, as we shall see, the neurodynamic excitation by a general 
overflow of tremor. This is registered on the drum at the same time 

as the pressure of the right hand In the usual experiment, the 

kymograph ordinarily turns with a speed of one centimeter per second. 

1 The pressure of the finger on the pneumatic appliance and its record will 
be hereinafter referred to simply as pressure. Translator. 


We obtained, in this way, a record simultaneously of three very impor- 
tant lines as shown in Figure 5. 

uff Aw 



A = the line of speech reaction, the time being in fifths of a second. 

B = the curve of the active right hand which in most experiments is 
smooth in the latent period, giving a regular rise associated with the 
speech reaction. 

C = the curve of the passive left hand fluctuating with the tremor. 

Besides these three curves, representing the intellectual process, and 
the active and passive motor response, there is sometimes added a fourth 
curve to record the respiration and pulse, as the part of the cycle of 
symptoms which arises from the vegetative system. In this manner we 
are able to see the reciprocal evidences of the entire system, the changes 
in which enable us to investigate the structure induced by our neuro- 
dynamic disturbance. 

The application of our method can be best shown by an 
example that of the "enigmatical latent period." The structure 
of the latent period of any complex reaction actually represents 
an enigma for the majority of psychologists, for it seems that 
in this study there are no other paths besides the subjective, 
and that the establishment of the objective neurodynamic struc- 


ture of this time interval, when the reaction has not been 
expressed, is a hopeless problem. 

The question of what process is hidden between the moment 
of stimulation and the moment of evident response remains a 
crucial question, and a very difficult one, for the psychologist. 
To refuse to make this decision, and to recognise that we are 
powerless objectively to establish whether the reaction is a result 
of the undisturbed process, or if the latent period is connected 
with the violent stimulation and the struggle of the several con- 
tradictory tendencies to admit this would mean giving up hope 
that the structure of the psychological acts would sometimes be 
a subject of real scientific investigation. 

We shall take a very simple case. To the word "portrait" given 
to our subject, he replies "paint." The time of his reaction is 
known to us, and we write his reply in our protocol. However, 
do we know the structure of the process leading him to the 
reaction? Although in one case he may arrive at this answer 
immediately, having remembered his acquaintanceship with an 
artist and his brush and paints ; in another instance, the answer 
may not be the first that he thinks of, for the word "portrait" 
may remind him of a person whose portrait he might like to 
possess but whose name he does not wish to pronounce. He 
chooses another, and this word is paint; the result is only a 
secondary confused reaction to which our subject arrived after 
the inhibition of the protective undesired answer. The introspec- 
tion of the subject and the corresponding answers sometimes can 
call out such a structure of the associative reactions; in other 
cases when the inhibition of the first reaction suggests an affective 
character, and is connected with some unpleasantness, compromis- 
ing his impressibility (such a case is for us most interesting) 
we do not have any basis to hope for frankness in our subject, 
and the structure of the latent period is concealed from us. In 
the event we have before us a criminal not admitting his crime, 
or an hysteric concealing his affective complexes, this door is 
closed even more tightly in front of us, and the hope to investi' 
gate the structure of the latent period by a subjective analysis 
vanishes completely. 

Even with a full and "honest" statement of the subject, we 
cannot consider the situation altogether favourable. If we can 
here recognise the content of the repressed word and the motives 
behind the repression, then the neurodynamic structure of this 
process does not stand out any clearer for us. Is the process 
connected with a certain neurodynamic excitation, or does it 


2 9 

represent here only a general tendency to the expression of some 
complicated or repressed impulse all these questions are inac- 
cessible to a subjective analysis, and the most detailed answer 
does not facilitate the task of the experimenter here. 

We do not obtain much of value in this instance from the 
introduction of such simultaneous symptoms as respiration, pulse, 
plethismogram, psychogalvanic reflex. In the most favourable 
situation these indicators reveal only some details of the general 
affective tone, but the structure of the process here remains 
obscure. 1 Did the repression of the first word which came into 
the mind of the subject have a place here, or was it simply the 
affective tension ? This cannot be reflected, simply because the 
structure of the action of behaviour cannot be recorded in physio- 
logical symptoms having no control over such a structure. 


A. BOOK - 7.4" WHITE 
B. TOWEL 7.3" - CLOTH 

For the objective expression of such a structure of the asso- 
ciative process we connect it with the voluntary motor activity, 
which should completely reflect its neurodynamics ; and we have 
this possibility in our combined methods. Figure 6 gives us an 
example of how this structure of the latent period can be reflected 
in the combined motor process. 

We give here two reactions from one of our subjects: M., who, 
two days preceding the experiment, murdered his fiancee, and 

1 L. Binswanger, Uber das Verhalten des psycho galvanischen Phonomens 
beim Associationsexperiment, Diagnostic Associationstudien, C. Jung, II, 1910. 
O. Lowenstein, Die expcrimentelle Hysterielehre, 1923. W. W. Smith, The 
Measwement of Emotions, 1923. 


came to our laboratory after his arrest. The position of the 
murderer was known to us: the fiancee resisted strongly and 
wounded M's hand. In order to stop the flow of blood M. had 
to take the kitchen towel, tear off a piece and wrap it around his 
hand, and with this convincing evidence he was caught. We con- 
fronted our subject by two word-stimuli, one of which, "book" 
was indifferent to him, and the other "towel," was connected 
with an important moment of the event. The two reactions are 
almost equal in time, and both are normal in the character of the 
responses: book 7.4" white, and towel 7.3" cloth. 

The external signs do not give us any reason to speak of the 
structures of these reactions ; but we have every right to believe 
that the structures should be different, and that the response to 
the latter stimulus was not the first which occurred to the subject. 
The characer of the combined motor reaction convinces us that 
the supposition is correct; while in the first reaction the latent 
period shows no upheaval ; in the second we unmask the motor 
reaction, which is not completed, is inhibited, but is sufficiently 
clearly expressed, and the structure of the motor response points 
to two clashes of the reactive process, from which only one, the 
latter, was expressed in the speech response, the first being in- 
hibited in the speech but revealed only in the motor reaction. 

The mechanics of this process is clear enough. The combined 
motor pressure is connected not only with the explicit word 
response, but in the tendency to the speech answer, and the reac- 
tion occurring in the mind is shown in the motor tension of the 
first compression of the bulb, before the word was spoken, and 
before it was inhibited. The tense motor reaction clearly shows 
us not only the peculiarities of the neurodynamic latent period, 
but it gives us data concerning the structure of the process 
concealed from view. 

We can easily be convinced that we have before us an adequate reflec- 
tion in the motor structure of the neurodynamic process, and that the 
"motor attempt to the reaction" is, in effect, the correlation of the con- 
cealed and unexpressed speech symbol. 

We may compare the facts we have obtained in the combined motor 
method with those of the subjective response, and such a comparison 
shows that the correspondence of structures is here evident. Figure 7 
gives us a section of the graphic protocol illustrating this. 

The word "work" is the word stimulus. "Work" is presented to one 
of our subjects, and the result is: work 5." well, day. The answer 
shows in its structure this reaction: 

"At once there began within me the word 'day/ but it seemed that 
it had no connection with what you said to me. Therefore, I began to 
inhibit it, but, then nevertheless, I decided to say it." 


The structure of the combined motor curve reflects very clearly the 
character of the observed introspective process. After one second fol- 
lowing the giving of the stimulus, we disturbed the light motor pressure, 
also the inhibitory pressure, and then in the second trial, and even in 
the third the appearance of the pressure is shown with the newly respond- 
ing reaction of the subject. The expression of the active curve is clearly 
defined if we compare it with the character of the passive curve of the 
left hand; these curves reveal that which is unexpressed, and which, of 
course, does not manifest any signs of the structure of the process be- 
fore us. 

We have a complete confirmation that the motor function is actually 
reflected here in the structure of the unexpressed newly associated 
process, when in the experimental conditions we artificially create such 
a structure, and after this we express it in the motor function. 



We suggest to the subject, while in the hypnotic state, that with the 
presentation of the definite word-stimulus, he think of some indecent 
word, and if the hypnosis is sufficiently deep, our suggestion will un- 
doubtedly have effect. The subject actually thinks of some indecent word 
but his education and training will not allow him to utter it; he represses 
it and speaks another word, one which serves in the given case as a 
substitute and which is more suitable for utterance. Thus we artificially 
arrive at the structure of the reaction, and we shall see that the com- 
bined motor method is able to express this structure objectively. 

Figure 8 shows such an example. To the subject Nor in the hypnotic 
state it was suggested that after the word "salt" he should think of 
some indecent association. In the experiment we obtained some exceed- 
ingly characteristic data following the series of perfectly normal responses. 
This reaction is obtained after the word "salt" (salt 17" salt; salt 
6.6" "valley." "I myself do not know why.") The subject's answer showed 
that the first word he thought of "was not fit to utter," he inhibited it 


and said the first word he thought of afterwards. The combined motor 
curve is a sufficiently accurate reflection of the structure; 8/10 seconds 
after the presentation of the stimulus we saw a marked motor impulse 
quickly becoming inhibited, and only 6 seconds after there follows the 
final reaction, corresponding to the frank speech response. 

Here the combined motor curve is capable of showing not only the 
symptoms of the known changes in the process, but reflects fairly ade- 
quately its structure. 

In the cases which we have examined, the combined motor 
method is a satisfactory reflection of the inhibited and the unex- 
pressed parts of the associative process, and we may confidently 
expect that in expressing the structure of the organised process, 
it is also capable of revealing the disorganisation of this structure. 



In the experiments with association we frequently meet with 
cases in which the excitatory process begins to have a markedly 
affective character, losing its organisation and passing over into 
a definitely disorganised, chaotic state. We meet with a similar 
situation when our stimulus collides with some affective focus, 
stimulating and actuating affective traces. In these cases the pre- 
sented word-stimulus does not evoke the organic intellectual 
process, but it gives to both a typical confusion, which is evident 
to observation as a certain affective excitation, inhibiting the 
associative process and expressing itself in various vegetative 
symptoms. Is this destruction of the process reflected in the com- 
bined active curve? We may not answer this question categori- 
cally. If the affective process consists at basis in the delay of 
the adequate answer and in the disorganisation of the activity, 
then precisely in the active motor curve directly connected with 
the central associative process we may primarily expect a change 



of the reflected structure. We are limited here to only one ex- 
ample, because all our investigations are concerned with the study 
of the structure of the disorganised behaviour, and of the func- 
tions which we have destroyed. 

The subject "St," with whom we chose to demonstrate how 
our method disorganised the affect reaction, is accused of the 
murder of the woman found on the front steps of a certain house, 
strangled with a strap. We give him a number of language 
stimuli, and among these the word "train" [Russian == poyezd}. 
The subject understands this word as "belt" [Russian = poyus] 
and gives the reaction, "strap." 


23. TRAIN 3.2" STRAP 50. WATER I.o" LAKE 


Figure 9 is a graphic representation of this reaction. The regis- 
tration of the speech answer showed only a slight delay in com- 
parison with the normal reaction, and this led to the supposition 
that there was a connection with the situation of the crime. The 
combined motor method very clearly reveals the neurodynamic 
declination characteristic of the given process. Soon after the 
presentation of the stimulus there begins in the active motor 
curve a typical tremor showing that for this latent period there 
is a central excitation, and that precisely the presence of this 
reaction differentiates it from the others. We do another experi- 
ment giving to the subject, after an interval, the word "strap." 
He answers to it by a very delayed reaction : strap 4.0" well, 
fur coat. 


Looking at the combined motor curve we are convinced that 
it is completey disrupted, and that for this reaction there is 
substituted an extreme neurodynamic excitation, completely dis- 
organising the whole process. 

On inspection the curve of the combined motor method shows 
us an equivalent neurodynamic excitation, concealed behind each 
given reaction, and enables us to evaluate immediately the degree 
of its affect. 

The examples which we have given here show that the com- 
bined motor curves can reflect not only the neurodynamic de- 
struction, combined with the associative process, but indeed their 
structural peculiarities. This latter possibility, of course, does 
not involve any expressive physiological system, and only the 
active motor method, combined with the central process in a 
unified functioning system, is capable of expressing the struc- 
ture of the neurodynamic process ordinarily hidden from direct 

We can very easily prove this by comparing the results with 
those obtained in the passive motor method reflecting the de- 
struction of the neurodynamic process. 

To perform such control experiments means the repetition of the 
large number of those carried out by R. Sommer, which have been 
more recently perfected technically by O. Lowenstein. The analysis of 
these authors' data shows that the affective disorganisation of behaviour 
can be reflected in the passive motor processes of the human, but that 
its reflection can in nowise reveal here the real structure itself of the 
changing central processes; on the other hand, that it is unstable and 
indefinite. Registering the passive fluctuating curve of the four extremi- 
ties, of the head, and the added curve of respiration and pulse, we 
cannot, properly speaking, confidently tell precisely where the disorganisa- 
tion of the behaviour is reflected; if in one experiment it conditions a 
marked fluctuation of the curve of the right hand, and in the other ex- 
periment we may expect an appearance of these destructions in the tremor 
of the feet, or the movements of the head, etc. 

Every evoked affective destruction in one of the expressive systems 
creates a corresponding discharge of excitation. Therefore, its reflection 
in one of the systems exposes the reflection in other systems; to predict 
with a lesser or greater degree of accuracy precisely where our destruc- 
tion appears is next to impossible, and the work of Lowenstein proves 
this without doubt. 

We have had many occasions to observe the fact that the excitatory 
reinforcement of innervation of the legs, by affect, gave all the symptoms 
which we would expect from the records of the arms. This led the authors 
to register the maximal number of expressive systems, increasing the 
number of chances that the reflection of the affect will be registered in 
one of these systems. 

In the method we have evolved, we have chosen another way. This 



allows us to dispense with the parallel registration of a large number of 
systems. In joining the active motor curve with the central processes, 
we obtain a united system of activity, and have every reason to believe 
that in this active motor system there is reflected the changes occurring 
in the central processes. The presence of two, or a maximum of three, 
registered systems (actively combined hand, passive hand, and one of 
the vegetative systems) is in this case sufficient to obtain a complete 
representation of the structure of the processes under consideration. 

What we have said brings us to the conclusion that, refusing the prin- 
ciple of the active combination of the motor reaction with the central 
processes, we surrender substantial ground in the study of the objective 
systems of the processes of disorganisation of behaviour, and to a great 
extent we pass over to the influence of accident, which can, thanks to 
some change in excitation which we fail to measure, at any moment 
alter our passive system so that it becomes an entirely inexpressive 

67 Afc /O 




In Figure 10 we see an example of how an attempt to trace 
the reflection of extreme affective processes in the general tremor 
often does not lead to results corresponding with the speech 
reaction, after this has already given the stimulus for the pres- 
sure by the hand; the intensity of this pressure is shown here 
unconnected with the intensity to the speech reaction, and there 
were such fluctuations in the methods that the motor curve ceased 
to be an adequate reflection of the central processes. 

To the subject "Z" in a hypnotic state a very disagreeable 
experience was suggested. Before and after the suggestion we 
have two chains of the associated series: the first flowed very 
smoothly and without appreciable obstacles, whilst the second 
was connected with the suggested unpleasantness, and was, there- 
fore, strongly affective. The contents of both of the chains, as 
well as the length of interval between the separate words and 
the control experiments conducted by our usual method, con- 

^r actuate 


vincingly proved that the second series differs significantly from 
the first precisely in its exclusive affectiveness. If this affect, 
however, is expressed in our usual combined motor method by 
the marked disorganisation of the active curve, then in the 
application of the passive method the curve is incomparably 
less expressive, the registration of the tremor of the passive move- 
ment of the hand and the inhibition has lost chiefly its ability 
to reflect the structure of the adequate process. 

Figure 10 shows that if the general character of our data 
in this case changes, then neither its structure nor the clear-cut 
accompanying destruction with the separate critical reaction 
makes it possible to describe accurately the location and char- 
acter of the affective process. If we subtract from the motor 
curve this activity, then we deprive it of those properties which 
hold for our investigation the parts of behaviour transforming 
tremor into a simple physiological symptom by which can be re- 
flected the changes arising in the general process, but from which 
we cannot expect to obtain a reflection of the structure of these 
changes. The role of the active union, thanks to which the 
motor method owes all its expressiveness, can be traced by us 
in detail in a simple experiment, where, having left the activity 
of the pressure we have registered, we construct its union with 
the central processes we have evoked; in a number of control 
experiments, designed especially for this purpose, we told the 
subject to answer, as ordinarily, with the first word he thought 
of, not, however, combining his answer with the pressure of his 
hand, but compressing only after the answer had been given. 

In this case we do not evoke any discoordination of move- 
ment and of speech response; by displacing the movement we 
destroyed that unified motor structure which was produced by 
the combined language and motor reaction. The physiological 
character of the process was changed. The subject, having re- 
acted already after this, gave himself a stimulus by the com- 
pression of the hand, the intensity to this compression is here 
not connected with the intensity of the language reaction. Such 
a slight alteration in the method was sufficient to cause the 
motor curve to fail in an adequate reflection of the central 

We give as an example of such a variation of the method, 
Figure n, showing two reactions in the same subject. Both of 
these reactions, according to all the data, are in the highest 
degree effective; this is proven by the extreme inhibition and 
the absence in the first cases of the response and many 














accompanying symptoms. Only one condition was different in 
these two experiments; in the first case we gave this subject 
instruction on the delay of the motor response; in the second 
instance, we proceeded as in our customary manner. The results 
were widely divergent. A great delay in one of the associated 
processes in the first case is not accompanied by any motor 
symptoms ; the right gave during the course of the whole latent 
period a very smooth, dead, inexpressive curve, and its active 
pressure is clearly separate from the whole process seen here. 
The second case presents entirely other symptoms, bearing wit- 
ness to the fact that the motor action is here a process of limited 
connection, with a central associated activity reflecting its inade- 
quacy; precisely, therefore, the affective character of this reac- 
tion is reflected with sufficient clearness here in the observed 
changes of the motor function of the latent period. 

Only an active combination makes it possible to express the 
internal process inaccessible to direct observation, in the com- 
pletely adequate external symptoms. With this active union, we 
create, so to speak, a unified acting structure, into which enter 
the obscure as well as the externally expressed symptoms. The 
changes of one side of the structure are inevitably reflected 
from the changes of the other side, and with this we are able 
to study the inadequate character of the highest psychological 
processes, where the direct observation of these processes is unat- 
tainable for us. 1 

The application of our method, combining the associated ex- 
periment with the motor reaction, has still another important 
characteristic: reflecting the affective process into completely 
objective symptoms, it at the same time makes possible a more 
suitable comprehension of affect. 

After the experiments of C. G. Jung and the psychoanalytical 
method we consider it useless to try artificially to evoke affect 
in the subject by irritation of his fecal masses or by discharge 
over the ear; each of the subjects had had in his past experience 
shown a wealth of affective traces such as to obtain a significant 
affect sufficient to call out these traces in life, to bring them 
into realisation. The associated experience serves this purpose 
admirably. It would be utterly fallacious to suppose that the 
associative processes obey those rational laws which are enumer- 
ated in ratiocinative logic. The greatest authors in the history 

1 We will not give here the different details and the possibilities of the 
method. They will be found in our work: Die Methode der Abildungen 
Motorik, Psycholog. Forschung, Bd. 12, 1929. 


of psychological thought always come to the conclusion that 
the current affective associative processes are conditioned by the 
living experience of personality and that the deciding role in it 
can be played by those affective traces which, in view of the 
"affective complexes" were separate in the personality and often 
condition its apperception as well as its active associative 

The word-stimulus which we represent has many chances of 
falling in the territory of such affective traces, and calling out 
in life a marked affective reaction. In such cases, when we take 
a number of subjects in a marked affective state or people 
whose affective complexes are already activated, such as students 
before an examination, criminals immediately after arrest, or 
neurotics and emotionally labile persons, the chances of pro- 
ducing affective reactions by means of word-stimuli are greatly 
increased, and a carefully chosen inventory of stimuli will almost 
unfailingly provoke in the subjects a clearly defined affective 
process. Having produced the affective association, we necessarily 
stimulate some disorganisation of behaviour which is evident to 
observation for a certain length of time. This "model affect" 
spreads not only to the system of activity connected with the 
associative process, but manifests all the signs of the affective 
disorganisation of behaviour. The appearance of the affective 
stream is accompanied by a destruction of the course of the 
higher speech process; it creates a certain conflict, goes over 
then to the motor functions, and can, under given circumstances 
involve even the autonomic system. In a word, we have a model 
affect very suitable for investigation, and including the most 
important symptoms of the affective disintegration. 

With these possibilities we may now venture to begin our 
work. With the help of the associative experiment, we are able 
to evoke a known affective state, and by means of the combined 
motor method we will analyse its structure. \Ve begin with an 
analysis of the ordinary affective processes, and we shall attempt 
to choose those which lead to a clearly defined disorganisation 
of human behaviour. When we pass over more fully to the 
investigation of the processes of disorganisation, we create arti- 
ficial obstacles and conflicts in speech, and again we attempt to 
trace their reflection in the combined motor method. Finally, 
not abandoning our methodological ground, we essay to study 
the genesis of these processes of disintegration, and to elucidate 
those examples by means of which the human surmounts this de- 
struction, systematically taking possession of his own behaviour. 






THREE fundamental problems arise before psychologists 
who study the disorganisation of human behaviour dur- 
ing affect: the study of symptomatology, the mechanics 
and the dynamics of affect. 

Symptomatologically, the questions of affect have been further 
investigated than others connected with the problems of affec- 
tive disorganisation. However, it is impossible to say that we 
know enough about the symptoms of the destruction of human 
behaviour to group them in a clearly definite picture. A majority 
of the symptoms described in the psychological literature give 
only partial and incomplete material to the theory of the dis- 
organisation of behaviour. Describing the symptoms of the affec- 
tive state, the authors almost never deviated from a single 
representation of affect as a system of disorganisation of active 
human behaviour. Therefore, the symptoms enumerated by psy- 
chophysiologists and psychologists differ considerably. The prob- 
lem of functional reciprocity of these symptoms, the separate 
symptoms of the affective state, playing the leading role, re- 
mained altogether insufficiently studied, and only a further inves- 
tigation will enable us to decide this problem. 

In a given investigation, we attempt to proceed precisely 
along this path. Having taken as a basis the active behaviour 
of the subject, we set ourselves the problem to describe not all 
the symptoms with his affective behaviour, but only those which 
allow us to establish in what way the affect is reflected in the 
disorganisation of active behaviour. Our work was thus much 
more limited than a general investigation of the whole symp- 
tomatological affect. 



From such a point of view, attacking the problem of the dis- 
organisation of behaviour, we met at once two extreme aspects 
of affect, whose governing laws it is necessary to describe. We 
saw that the affective destruction of the disorganisation of be- 
haviour by no means represents a short chaotic record of a brief 
period of behaviour in a structural state. We are in a position 
to describe the structure of the affect and show that it varies 
widely in different instances. 

While in some cases we come upon a distinct diffuse affective 
state, where all of the behaviour is for a time disorganised, in 
others there stands out before us a conspicuous contour of the 
concentrated affect, which appeared only surrounding definite 
stimuli and extended only to several reactive systems mani- 
festing a very definite structure, whose forms and interrelations 
we are able to study. These interrelations and the laws govern- 
ing them bring us to the conclusion that, properly speaking, a 
structural state does not exist, and that even the affective chaos, 
produced in the behaviour by certain difficulties and affective 
conditions, is not an accidental destruction, but always manifests 
lawfulness. To study these interrelations and their laws is not 
easy, because every concentrated affect inevitably tends to pass 
into a diffused state of disorganisation, and because the great 
complexity and the emancipation from the higher regulating 
mechanism which appears during the state of affect makes the 
laws governing these phenomena very confusing. Before the in- 
vestigator, however, describing the destruction of behaviour 
during affect remains the problem of how to approach it, how 
to get at the deformations; in other words, to describe those 
structures of the laws governing the apparent chaos. 

This brings us to the second question the study of the me- 
chanics of the affective states. Although the symptomatology 
of affect has been described to a certain extent there is much 
less material concerning the relations of the mechanics of the 
affective destruction of the behaviour. Besides, a few physiologi- 
cal researches (preeminently those of I. P. Pavlov and W. B. 
Cannon), there are practically no others discovering in the dis- 
organisation of behaviour any constant laws, formulating the 
processes of affective destruction into fundamental rules. The 
matter becomes still more involved when we begin to speak of 
definite physiological laws as well as rules relating to this ac- 
tivity which is disorganised during the affective disturbance. 
Here authors usually prefer to end their investigations, pointing 
out that under the influence of the affect the behaviour is dis- 


organised, the separate systems form the general regulators and 
the diffuse excitation suppresses the normal vital activity of the 
organism. To gainsay this is impossible, and likewise one cannot 
state that it is the concluding stage of the investigation. On 
he contrary in that chaos of behaviour which arises during the acute 
affect we can sooner see a problem which becomes the starting point 
for the investigation, behind which we must necessarily seek 
for the laws manifested in this disorganisation. At the basis of 
the affective disturbance of behaviour, is there some alteration 
in the adequate mobilisation of the excitation, or does the affect 
change the very structure of the reactive process? If the affec- 
tive state is connected with the abolition of the normal standards 
of movement, then what forces lie at the basis of this fact? 
Does the affective disturbance influence only the active system, 
or, under certain circumstances, is it connected to other spheres, 
extending into the passive motor and vegetative systems? All 
these questions are essential, not only in the symptomatological 
description but also in the psychophysiological investigation 
which should attempt to establish definite laws lying at the basis 
of the affective disorganisation of human behaviour. 

Obviously these laws can be established only in conjunction 
with the study of the conditions producing the affect and the 
circumstances governing its organisation. The mechanics of the 
affect is comprehensible only in the light of the dynamics of the 
affective state. The interrelations of the separate symptoms ob- 
served by us, the character of the affective disturbances and 
their extension into various regions of activity are far from 
being equal, whether we study the affective disturbance directly 
under the conditions producing the trauma, or turn our atten- 
tion to the investigation of the difficult situation which is brought 
about and becomes dominant. The relations of the personality 
to the production of the affective situation can modify the whole 
mechanics of the affective disturbance, and in the investigation 
of the affects besides this relation of the personality, there may 
be obtained the false impression that the laws of the mechanics 
of the affective state do not have any existence. Here, as in many 
psychological investigations, we come face to face with the fact 
that the course of the processes becomes comprehensible only 
when we take into account the leading role played by the higher 
forms of behaviour and the more complex psychological systems. 
Extended by the study of the dynamics of affect, its genesis and 
destiny, its dependence upon the general setting of the person- 
ality, and upon the ability of the personality to overcome the 


affective disorganisation, our investigation proceeds from the 
limits of the neurodynamical analysis and becomes, in its broader 
significance, truly psychophysiological. 

All these problems should be studied by us in actual experi- 
mental material, which is suitable for analysis and which is 
capable of showing an affective disorganisation in its acute forms. 
The material afforded by the mass affect of scholastic examina- 
tions, criminals, and artificially produced affects will be first 
considered in our analysis. 


FIRST we shall take up the analysis of behaviour connected with 
a fairly acute traumatic situation the situation of the student 

For our experiments with the examinations we use a very 
simple characteristic: on the one hand, there is the situation 
which is produced by the somewhat intensive affective phe- 
nomena. Everyone who recalls the state of the average student 
facing an important examination will remember that his be- 
haviour is far from normal, and that an intense affect usually 
governs all of his activity; on the other hand we undoubtedly 
have a case of mass affect connected with a very definite situ- 
ation. This is certainly an advantage for the experimenter: the 
structure of the affect, which we have already spoken of, can be 
observed in a large number of subjects simultaneously. As equal 
stimuli are present in all of the cases, we may be assured that the 
same factor is operating in the production of the affective results. 

Such a procedure brings before the experimenter numerous 
possibilities. Comparing the reaction of many subjects in one 
and the same affective situation, the experiment can be con- 
ducted with a statistical accuracy which is very difficult to attain 
in separate experiments with affect. 

The situation of the examination has another distinct advan- 
tage: it allows the experimenter to discover in the mass of the 
material the dynamics of affective states. Our experiment can 
be arranged in situations differing in the degree of their trau- 
matic action; the investigator can study students before very 
difficult, average, and comparatively easy examinations; doing 
the experiment at varying times from the examination, studying 
its "Fern- and Nahe-Wirkung," he can trace the extension of 
qualitative changes in the structure of the affective processes; 
finally he has an opportunity to investigate the student before 


as well as after the examination, and to explain the specific 
course of the affective process in relation to the degree of the 
affective trauma and affective tension. 

The number of experiments and the uniformity of the situa- 
tion make it possible for the psychologist to study the question 
of the mechanics and dynamics of affect, not only in general but 
from the standpoint of typology. If the traumatic situation of 
the examination acts on the subjects unequally, if the person- 
alities controlling the neurotic labileness of the nervous system 
are separated very distinctly, then the psychologist has an 
opportunity to expand his investigation into many typological 

Three chief problems standing out in bold relief before the 
psychologist can be formulated as the problems of the mechanics, 
the dynamics, and the typology of the mass affect: 

What symptoms characterise the behaviour of subjects ex- 
periencing similar mass affect? In the disorganisation of which 
basic mechanism is it expressed? What dynamics are present, 
and how do they depend upon the main traumatic situation? 
And, finally, how are the typological peculiarities of the neuro- 
dynamics in this traumatic situation disclosed? 

An experimental answer to these questions will be attempted 
in the ensuing pages. 1 



THE experiments which we shall now take up lead us at once 
to the situation of more acute affect. 

These experiments were made in 1924, and are of exceptional 
interest for the psychologist studying the affect of the situation 
connected with "cleansing" or "purgation" in the higher schools. 

The overcrowding of the higher schools and universities, which, dur- 
ing the revolution, were open to everyone, regardless of their preparation, 

1 We know of only a very few works dealing with the experimental psy- 
chology of the examination. One of the earliest of these is: T. G. Schnitzler, 
Experimented Beitrage zur Tathesandsdiagnostik, Zeitschr. f. angew. Psychol. 
Bd. 2, S. 51-91. The author uses material before the examination and before 
operations. Two of our papers (in conjunction with L. P. Leontiev) concerning 
material of the examination are: Investigations oj the Objective Symptoms of 
Affective Reactions, Problems of Contemporary Psychology, 1926; and Ex- 
amination and Psyche, Moscow, 1929. The material of these furnishes the basis 
of the present chapter. 


the lack of equipment in the laboratories, the want of control of the 
academic progress of the students on the one hand, and on the other 
hand, the social class standing of the students (often the presence of 
persons not active in the revolution and even inimical to it) all this 
explains the general scrutiny of the student bodies during the Spring 
of 1924, the so-called chistka ("cleansing"). Every student had to appear 
before a special commission. This commission went into his academic 
record, his social-political inclinations, collected information on his past 
and academic activity, and then made its decision. In the case of an 
unfavourable judgment, the student was expelled from the university, 
and thus all of his work and future plans came to naught. If he 
passed the censorship of the commission he continued his academic course. 

Naturally this situation far exceeded in its traumatic character 
the usual school examination; we thus had very specific condi- 
tions for the investigation of an acute mass affect. 

Thirty students were examined in the series, nineteen women 
and eleven men. In contra-distinction to other authors (Schnitz- 
ler) who investigated subjects half a day before the examina- 
tion, we took students directly from the line awaiting examination, 
so that some of them were examined only a few minutes after 
our experiment. 

From among these, eleven were experimented on twice: the 
first time we experimented upon them immediately before going 
into the examination, the second time immediately following the 
examination. Thus we were able to evaluate the result of the 
trauma which standing before the commission represented for 
them. The fact that the outcome of the "cleansing" was un- 
known to the student beforehand gave us a possibility of per- 
forming our experiment under comparatively pure conditions, 
excluding the influence of the fortunate or unfortunate result, 
and tracing the pure (relatively, of course) process of testing 
the student per se. 

In this series of experiments, as well as in all the others 
described in this book, we applied the method of associated 
motor reactions, giving the subject a speech stimulus, and re- 
cording the speech responses connected with simultaneous motor 
pressures. In each of the subjects, reactions were taken to 
thirty word-stimuli. The experiments were performed after 
a short preliminary training, sufficient for the understanding 
of the instructions and for the establishment of the corre- 
sponding coordinations. After the test the experiment was 

The comparative study of the speech reactions (their latent 
period, the character of the responses) and their reflection in 


the corresponding motor system (the intensity and form of the 
motor curves, their variability and coordination) made it pos- 
sible to evaluate the general character of the dynamics of the 
affective process. 


THE general behaviour of our subjects demands our attention 
and gives evidence that most of them are in a state of intense 
excitation. Fidgeting in the chair, and many agitated movements 
characteristic of a general excitability, marked excitability of 
attention, sometimes compensatory loud laughing all of this 
creates a typical picture. 

Here is a section of a typical protocol: 

Subject No. 26. Very excited, talking loudly, fidgeting in his chair, 
striking his hand on the table, continuously conversing in spite of being 
asked to keep quiet; scolding. He responds to the stimulus in fluctuating 
tones, sometimes in an ordinary voice and again very boisterously. Fur- 
ther investigations reveal a marked variability in the strength of the 
motor pressures; sometimes he strikes the dynamoscope. Toward the 
end of the experiment he says he cannot continue the experiment as he 
must wait his turn in the line. The experiment stopped here. 

The general excitability and the marked instability of be- 
haviour is clearly evident in this subject ; these features are 
typical of the behaviour of all our subjects, and are reflected 
in the graphic protocols. The diffuse affective state is shown 
in the motor reactions of the subject; it makes his reactions 
unstable, deprives him of the possibility to coordinate the move- 
ments, and brings out neurodynamic symptoms characteristic 
of affect. 

We shall give a comparative example of the characteristic 
experimental conditions of behaviour in three subjects young 
people of nearly the same age and development. The first of 
these was a control who was ignorant of the "cleansing" as well 
as of the purposes of the experiment ; the other two were stu- 
dents tested immediately preceding their appearance before the 

Figure 12 contains the graphic protocols of these experiments. 

The above reactions show that our control subject is very 
calm. Several fundamental symptoms characterise his behaviour 
under the conditions of our experiment ; all of these can be seen 
in the protocol. They are: 


i. The speech reactions of the subject are rapid and stable. 
The average speed of the speech answers equals 1.4", and the 
variation of this in the separate cases is very small. In the graph 
we see how short are the intervals between reactions, showing 
how little energy the subject expends in responding to the given 
word-stimulus. An analysis of the speech responses shows that 
the stability in the associative activity is not attained at the 
expense of the quality of the speech reactions (for example, a 
change to a stereotyped answer, etc.), but that a relatively com- 
plex psychical activity can flow in distinct and stable forms. 1 


2. The motor reactions of the subject have a regular and 
standard form, and show a more or less equal intensity of 
pressures. The variability of the forms here is entirely lacking, 
and the fluctuation of intensity is insignificant, one pressure 
differing from the other by not more than 1-2 mm. 

3. The behaviour is characterised by a complete coordina- 
tion of the separate systems. The movements of the hand occur 

1 In a special work dealing with the genesis of speech reactions in the child 
(Speech and Intellect in the Development oj the Child, Moscow, 1928) we 
showed that such an organised and stable character of the reactions (a nor- 
mally adequate associative process and a normal stability of the reactive 
period) is shown in the history of the development and is generally established 
at twelve to fourteen years of age. 


simultaneously with the speech reactions. The space between 
them is not occupied by one of the accompanying reactions or 
by impulsive reactions of the hand not dependent upon the 
speech process, and the whole neurodynamical apparatus works 
with a maximal coordination. 

We may summarise these three features of the normal adult's 
behaviour as follows: here there is a very exact organisation, 
a regulation of the behaviour, which is the property of the 
normal work of the developed neuropsychical apparatus, and 
which is fully established at this stage of activity by the time 
adolescence is reached. 1 

One may say that the whole behaviour of the subject is char- 
acterised here by a preliminary elaboration of that associative 
and motor formula which, further, is stably and automatically 
present in all of the reactions. 

Precisely these properties of the regulation of the neurody- 
namical process are destroyed in the state of acute diffused affect. 
Curves 2 and 3 show this in the above figure. We have here 
analogous reactions of the subjects during the excitation of the 
acute affect present immediately before the session with the 
commission. The features are entirely different from those just 

i. The speech reactions to the word stimuli occur much more 
slowly, although the subjects are in no sense inferior intellec- 
tually to the control. Not infrequently we meet cases here where 
the subject cannot respond to the first word coming into his 
mind in less than 5.7" or even 10". The average reactive time 
of our subjects is 2.29", while normally this time does not exceed 
1.5-1.7" (Jung), attaining this speed already in children 14-15 
years old (Luria). 

This fact indicates the serious changes which the affect causes 
in the course of the higher psychological processes; the figures 
show that the acute affect, as a rule, inhibits the intricate associa- 
tive process, obstructing it and bringing about that state of the 
person long since past, a state which is characterised by a serious 
obstruction of the associative reaction. 2 The affect provokes 
a functional lowering of the associative possibilities. 

This fact, that the affect ruptures the organised course of 
the associative processes, is shown in the greatly increased vari- 

1 In subsequent chapters we show that this regulation of the higher processes 
is genetically a fairly late development, and comes about as the result of the 
overcoming of the primary diffusion of behaviour. See Part Three. 

2 A. R. Luria, Speech and Intellect in the Development of the Child, Mos- 
cow, 1928. 


ability of the speech reactions. The time expended on the speech 
responses fluctuates, and together with the quickly flowing asso- 
ciations we usually meet very slow ones, and in the state of 
affect we say that those elaborated earlier formulae of the asso- 
ciative reactions, which characterise the behaviour of the normal 
adult, are lost. 

We applied in these investigations a very simple means of calculating 
the variability. Taking into consideration the fact that deviation is a 
result of the inhibition of the individual responses, we express the varia- 
bility in the difference between the median and the average of the 
arithmetical sums of the reactive time, considering that the whole of 
the instability of the series is shown in the size of this difference. If in 
the normal case this difference comes to zero, then in our experiments it 
can be expressed by an average figure of 0.30" (17% of the basic size) 
but this represents a very considerable instability of the series. 

The subject in the state of acute affect not only inhibited his 
associative reactions, but as a rule he was not able to produce 
these reactions with any degree of stability (even though de- 
layed). The failure of coordination in the human experiencing 
the affect begins with a falling out of the higher regulations, 
and, as we shall soon see, disturbs the coordination connected 
with the motor sphere. 

The destruction of the organisation of the associative processes 
under the influence of the affect appears in the character of the 
speech responses. 

We have in the cultured adult, as a rule, during quiet periods, 
almost a hundred per cent of adequate associations; the primi- 
tive forms of the associative reactions (the extra signalising 
response to the direct stimulus, the stereotyped repetition of 
one and the same answer, the reaction of senseless words) are 
met with only on rare occasions. 

The facts of our material give other evidence. Only 81.7% 
of all the responses were complete, 10.8% were of a primitive 
nature and 5.3% showed prominent symptoms of speech ex- 
citability and speech discoordination. 

These data give an active picture for the examinations. In 
our material we met cases where the associative processes did 
not influence the affect and where all the disturbances could be 
attributed to the somewhat delayed and unequal reactive times ; 
the subject responded by adequate associations but the process 
itself of the associative response produced in him considerable 
tension ; this process, usually automatic and easy, became de- 
automatised under the influence of the affect, and this was 


expressed in the character of the delayed reactive period of 
the deautomatised process and the increase in its variability. 
Here we meet for the first time with one of the chief laws 
characteristic of the mechanics of the affective process. The 
affective state causes a great disturbance in the associative 
process which is only dispelled by a number of secondary forces; 
the associative process in the affective state is entirely another 
psychological structure than that which is seen in the associations 
of ordinary subjects. In these cases when for some reason such a 
secondary elaboration of the associative processes fails, it is plain 
why the subject should give a perverted series of the associa- 
tive reactions, entirely disorganised in character. We begin to 
see a chain of senseless extra-signalising responses; every acci- 
dental stimulus the portfolio on the table, the eyeglasses of 
the experimenter, picture drawn on the wall all these began 
to activate the subject, taking him away from the experiment, 
and producing "accidental responses." We obtain an associative 
series ordinarily foreign to the cultured adult and usually seen 
only in the earlier stages of development or, in peculiar forms, 
in definite neurotic states. 

The extra-signalising and senseless reactions, the auditory and 
stereotyped responses indicate that the acute affect destroys the 
normal associative activity, throwing the subject back on the 
primitive psychological structures. These we shall take up below. 

2. The unusually acute changes evoke the affective process 
plainly in the motor coordinations of the subject. In Figure 12 
(curves 2 and 3) the motor disturbances clearly indicate that 
the reactive process of the subject in the state of diffused affect 
takes on entirely other forms; he is not able to produce those 
distinct and strictly coordinated movements which characterise 
the reactions of the normal, composed person, the motor-formula 
is quickly lost and the reaction acquires an organised, automatic 
quality. Looking more carefully at the curves given, we are able 
to see that in the affect there were contending several funda- 
mental mechanisms proper to the reaction of the normal person. 
These disturbances of the motor system are not exceptional, 
individual cases ; our statistics show that before the "cleansing" 
26.9% of all the reactions were disturbed in form, having lost 
the appearance of the regular coordinated pressure; in many 
of the subjects the movements showed a sharp tremor between 
the separate reactions; in several there was a complete loss of 
coordination in the movements of the hand with the speech 
reactions, and the motor pressure occurred much earlier than 



the speech. Figure 13 contains a part of the protocol of the 
experiment on such a subject. 



A detailed analysis of the material indicates that the existing 
mechanism here consists in this: the impulses connected with 
the excitation break down the ordinary regularity of the move- 
ments, proceed without obstruction to the motor area, destroy 
the coordination, and give to the movements their impulsive, 
excitatory character. 

The detailed analysis of these mechanisms will be given 
below; they bring us to the establishment of the chief move- 
ments in the mechanism of affect. Now, with the aid of two 
concrete examples, we shall attempt to approach closer to this 
mechanics of affect. 

As a typical example of the first, we give the reaction in 
Figure i4A; the scheme is typical and allows us to see more 
clearly the properties of the mechanisms manifested here. At 
the point A we give the subject the word-stimulus "wall," and 
at Point B we have the response, "stone." We might expect that 
the motor reaction would be coordinated with this response 
and that it would proceed along the path corresponding to our 


points in the scheme. But the record indicates otherwise. Instead 
of after the definite, latent period, in the course of which the 
motor impulses were inhibited, giving an organised motor pres- 
sure coordinated with the speech response, the subject gives 
an entirely different picture : the motor system is separated in it 
from the speech reaction; the motor impulse (a-b) comes only 
after the presented stimulus and is completely uninhibited in 
the active part of the motor pressure; the inhibition is pro- 
duced by the absence of the simultaneous speech response ; it now 
begins later, in the passive part of the curve, and is manifested 
in the slowly appearing tremor (b-c) ; the organised shortening 
of the active pressure (c-d) we see considerably later in the 
point B of the speech reaction. 

This example first brings before us a law of affective behaviour, 
which we shall encounter many times later on. That disorgani- 
sation and discoordination of behaviour present in every case 
of acute affect, consists in this, that in the affective state the 
motor setting has a tendency to be directly realised, the excita- 
tion does not meet with any delay, with any inhibition, and 
immediately proceeds to its terminus. That which is injured 
here is the restraining system, the barrier which inhibits the 
direct appearance of the motor act, causing its coordination with 
other active systems. The regulating, inhibiting impulses here 
are delayed, and come into action only after the appearance 
of the active movement, in its passive portion ("c" at the begin- 
ning of the passive part of the curve). The whole curve is de- 
ciphered as the result of the disturbed and delayed regulating 
inhibition, taking place on the basis of the sharply increased 

The second example is taken from the above figure; it makes 
possible the addition of a second law to the first one, developing 
our viewpoint of the mechanics of the affective processes. For 
analysis we take a similar reaction, No. 4 in curve No. 2. To the 


subject experiencing the acute affect, there is given the word- 
stimulus "unfortunate," to which he answers "student" clearly 
a connection with the chief affect of the reaction. The motor 
reaction (a-b-c) is connected with this response (see Figure 14 B), 
and it flows as a normal and regular pressure. However, there 
is an actual change following it : instead of the expected even line 
following the free interval as it occurs in normal subjects, the 
subject gives several discoordinated sharp pressures, not con- 
nected with the speech responses and occupying all of the free 
interval. It becomes clear to us that the period following the re- 
action is characterised by a strong affective excitation, that the 
excitation was not entirely absent in the normally occurring 
reaction, that the reaction provoked a considerable process, hav- 
ing disturbed all of the ensuing behaviour and spread into the 
following discoordinated activity. It is evident that under cer- 
tain circumstances the stimulus present in the affective state 
produces larger quantities of excitation than it does in the nor- 
mal ; this excitation apparently is not brought about only by 
the stimulus; the stimulus seems to play the role of a catalyst 
of a considerable amount of excitation present in the subject. 
On the other hand the reaction itself to the given stimulus is 
insufficient to remove the excitation, the reaction cannot over- 
come those masses of excitation which were called out by it. 
As a result we have that definite picture appearing in the figure: 
the excitation not connected with impaired restraints in the 
affect comes out in several unorganised and spontaneous motor 

Such a picture is not exceptional. 


THE example which we have just given suggests to us the ques- 
tion : In the person experiencing affect, does the stimulus always 
activate considerable masses of excitation which he cannot con- 
trol, or does this occur in special instances? 

The experiment answers this question for us very definitely ; 
as a rule we have similar cases only when the stimulus is not 
indifferent for the subject, when it falls on that complex setting 
which constitutes the chief focus of the given affect. We return 
to the example just cited. The stimulus which was presented 
to our subject was the word "unfortunate"; the principal affec- 
tive focus of the subject was connected with the situation of 
the awaited trial. It is naturally the word "unfortunate" which 


was assimilated in the content of this complex, and the answer 
"student" given by the subject confirms this. Such a situation 
explains the results in the experiment with affects. Evidently 
the stimulus presented activated the excitation which was con- 
nected in our subject with the traumatic situation. The experi- 
ment shows us that the given mechanism is largely a result of 
the activated affective complex rather than a process characteris- 
ing an acute affect. 

The results of this series confirm our position. We presented 
to our subject very dissimilar word-stimuli. Some of these were 
neutral in their relation to the traumatic situation (indicated 
by i), others directly stimulated the system of these affective 
traces (k), the third appeared doubtful, sometimes stimulating 
the affective traces in the case of the corresponding setting (c). 

A list of our word-stimuli follows: 

1. day (i) n. cleansing (k) 21. pillow (i) 

2. dress (i) 12. gun (i) 22. court (i) 

3. sleep (i) 13. constitution (c) 23. roll call (k) 

4. unfortunate (c) 14. to cut (i) 24. already (c) 

5. occurrence (c) 15. commission (k) 25. to fear (c) 

6. pen (i) 16. pipe (i) 26. brush (k) 

7. student (c) 17. broom (c) 27. gold (i) 

8. examination (k) 18. to surrender (k) 28. tomorrow (i) 

9. book (c) 19. wall (i) 29. to hurry (i) 
10. end (k) 20. lame (k) 30. to remain (c) 

Thus eight words of the list were critical (k), nine were doubtful (c), 
and thirteen indifferent (i). The stimuli (end, cleansing, commission, 
roll call), relate directly to the situation the academic examinations; 
brush was included in the critical group owing to its connection with 
cleansing, to clean; lame was connected with one of the most strict mem- 
bers of the examining commission; to surrender was connected with one 
of the most traumatic moments of the situation, the giving up of the 
students' documents. The stimuli relating to the doubtful group included 
words which under certain circumstances might be associated in thought 
with the given complex. 

The stimuli arranged on such a principle allow us to investi- 
gate the state of affect in our subjects, the specific reactions di- 
rectly connected with the traumatic situation of the stimuli on 
the basis of the reactions to the neutral indifferent stimuli. The 
data show that the reactions to such critical stimuli are dif- 
ferentiated on the basis of those disturbances characterising the 
behaviour of subjects during our experiment. It was sufficient to 
present a stimulus taken from the traumatic situation to produce 
a rupture of the affect which disturbed the intellect and dis- 
organised the motor activity of the subject. 


The simple statistical facts show that the reaction to these 
critical stimuli are different from those to the neutral ones. 
Table i gives the figures relating to reactive periods in the cases 
of the associations to the different groups of word-stimuli. 


Character of stimuli M Am Am M 

indifferent 1.60" i-95" 0.26" 

critical" 2.44" 0.25" 

doubtful 1.88" 2.20" 0.32" 

post-critical i-73" 2.18" -35" 

M = median ; Am = Average 

The average reactive time depends upon the character of the 
stimulus. These figures show that the average time required for 
the response in the case of the critical stimuli is 30% more than 
the time in the case of the indifferent stimuli. There is con- 
siderable delay in the reaction to the doubtful stimuli. The re- 
actions connected with the traumatic situation are distinguished 
by a distinct increase of their periods, notwithstanding the fact 
that qualitatively the associative reaction is almost the same in 
both cases, and even in the answers to the doubtful and critical 
stimuli it is somewhat lower. 

The statistics give, in the case of the neutral stimuli, 85.9% 
of the complete associative reaction, while in the critical stimuli 
this is lowered to 78.3%, and in the doubtful even to 76.1%. 

Our subject, to whom we present the word connected with the 
critical situation, is not able to respond to it with the speed 
usual for him, and adequate responses require a much longer 

In Table 2 we have a statistical summary showing the average 
speed of the reactions to the different word-stimuli. It is easily 
seen that the answers to the neutral stimuli occur quickly, while 
those to the stimuli connected with the traumatic situation are 
maximally delayed. 

Such a picture of the disturbed behaviour, in the case of the 
reactions directly connected with the affective complexes, were 
studied in relation to the symptoms of the motor disorganisation. 
Table 3 shows that quantitatively the motor disturbances in these 
cases are greater than in the others ; such a marked destruction of 
the motor reactions occurs here two and a half times more 
frequently than in the responses to the indifferent stimuli. 

The following conclusion may be drawn from this material: 
the presentation of stimuli directly connected with the traumatic 





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situation to the subject during the state of affect usually pro- 
duces an obstruction of the associative processes and a marked 
disturbance of the motor reactions. These properties of the dis- 
turbed behaviour in the case of the critical reactions are not by 


any means accidental; an analysis shows that these reactions 
cause a wave of disturbances lasting some time after the critical 
reactions. In Table 3 we see that following it, the post-critical 
reactions (they are themselves indifferent) have a considerably 
delayed period and are characterised by an increased number of 
sharply disturbed reactions. An analysis of the concrete cases 
indicates that the critical stimuli produce a marked obstruction 
of the associative processes and condition a specific structure of 
the reactions. 


Character of 














The number of motor disturbances are dependent upon the character of 

the stimuli. 

The associative process is broken under the influence of the affective 
stimulus; our data make it possible to point out the types of action of 
such a stimulus on the associative process. 

1. The more acute influence of the affective stimulus is expressed in 
the complete failure of the reactions in that affective "desert" whose 
presence has been shown in the works of M. Wertheimer. Here are ex- 
amples of such reactions: 

Subject 27 

examination 3.5" absence of response 

cleansing 4.0" I can not answer that 
Subject 33 

student 3.0" I do not know 

examination 2.6" I do not know 

commission 2.4" I do not know 

broom 2.2" I do not know 
Subject 17 

commission 5. 2" absolutely nothing 

2. A characteristic feature is the failure to hear the critical stimulus. 
This symptom is never met with in the case of the indifferent stimuli: 

Subject 3 commission 3.0" I did not hear 
Subject 14 end 4.0" I did not hear 

Subject 1 8 book 6.0" the devil take it, I didn't hear it. 

3. A large number of speech responses to the critical stimuli are of an 
externally disturbed nature; this symptom, pointed out by C. G. Jung, 
is connected with that conflict which is excited by the affective stimulus^ 


destroying the associative process and weakening those regulators of 
behaviour, about which we have spoken above. Examples of such re- 
actions follow: 

Subject q 

brush 4.6" t . . . yellow 
Subject 14 

cleansing 1.6" pro . . . proshla (it is finished) 
Subject 15 

cleansing 8.4" cleansing . . . what shall I say? A good method 

4. Finally in the last group there are cases of internally disturbed 
reactions in which the disturbance is connected not with the motor func- 
tions of speech but with the associative process itself. The extra- 
signalising, senseless and particularly the stereotyped reactions make up 
the forms here. Examples: 

Subject 6 

unfortunate i.o" house 
student 1.4" house 
cleansing 2.2" house, etc. 

We shall concern ourselves with a special analysis of similar dis- 
turbances again later on; in the analysis of the facts obtained in criminals, 
subjects under hypnosis, and in neurotics we shall meet with similar 
examples. Now we should like to emphasise the fundamental fact that 
the affective situation does not simply influence qualitatively the intel- 
lectual processes but actually changes the whole reactive structure. 


WE shall discuss here all the investigated symptoms and the 
dynamics of the affect. That setting which we have investigated 
twice in our subjects, directly before and immediately after the 
traumatic situation, gives us some experimental material on the 
dynamics of the affective process. How does the behaviour of 
the subject change after passing through the affective situation? 
The figures obtained indicate very clearly that already the tension 
of the affective situation (passing before the examining commis- 
sion without being informed of the outcome) is sufficient to 
decrease markedly the affective symptoms. The associative reac- 
tions, after the passage through the traumatic situation, occur 
much more quickly (an average of 1.75" instead of 1.95" obtained 
in this group in the first experiment) ; the acute motor dis- 
turbances are also much less in the repeated experiment 14.4% 
instead of the earlier 20. 6%. 
We are led to believe that the passing through the traumatic 


situation is connected with a diminution of the affect, that the 
affective influence of the situation is more connected with the 
situation of expecting the trauma than with the trauma itself, 
and that the latter leads to some sort of solution of the tension. 
Entspannung is the term applied to this phenomenon by the 
Berlin school of psychologists. 

The control experiment shows that the decrease of the affective symp- 
toms is explained by the fact that in the interval between the two ex- 
periments the subject went through the situation of cleansing and the 
psychological picture of his behaviour was different in a special series. 
In order to find out the influence of the simple repetition of the stimuli 
we tried two successive experiments. In both cases there was almost no 
change. The average reactive time of the first experiment was 2.29", 
and of the second, 2.27". The control entirely excluded any influence of 
simple repetition. It is positive that the above given diminution of the 
affective symptoms is connected not with the repetition of the experiment 
but with the change in the psychological conditions. 

The fundamental affective complex under the tension of the 
traumatic situation appears in the very special mechanism of the 
affective dynamics. The principal changes produced consist in 
this: the affective focus loses its exceptional affective significance, 
and the changes take on a diffused form, equally extending to 
all the reactions of the subject. Tables 4 and 5 illustrate this. 


Reaction time Reaction time Differ- 

Character of the stimulus before "cleansing" after u cleansing" ence 

indifferem 1.58" 1.62" +0.04 

critical 2.01" 1.86" 0.15 

doubtful i. 60" 1.55" 0.05 

post-critical 1.84" 1.65" 0.19 
Reactive time before and after the traumatic situation. 



Character of the stimulus Before "cleansing" After "cleansing" ence 
indifferent 14.3% n.i% - 3.2% 

critical 30.4% 19.6% 10.8% 

doubtful 23.4% 14.3% - 7.1% 

post-critical 18.4% 14.3% 4.1% 

Quantity of acute motor disturbances before and after traumatic 

Both these tables showing the dynamics of the two important 
symptoms of the affective disturbance give similar results. In 
both cases the repeated experiment after the "cleansing" show 


a marked decrease of symptoms in the cases of the critical and 
post-critical reactions. In the second experiment they take place 
more quickly and with fewer motor disturbances. This process 
is noticeable only in the indicated group of reactions ; the re- 
actions not connected with the main affective complex give in 
the repeated experiment a picture almost unchanging in com- 
parison to the first experiment ; the tension of the affective situa- 
tion produces a disturbance of the chief affective complex, not 
causing any actual change of reactions in the neutral stimuli. 

The affective complex in the diffused affective state represents 
here different degrees of inertia ; the connections of the traumatic 
situation put the affect under tension, but there remains some 
general, diffused disturbance of behaviour. 



THE second series of experiments, performed in the Autumn of 
1927, made use of analogous situations. We chose the problem 
of the ordinary school examination through which every student 
of the university must pass. 

We had a greater wealth of material here than in our first 
series. We used 109 subjects, 51 men and 58 women, varying from 
1 8 to 35 years of age. As in the first group of experiments, the 
subjects w r ere tested twice, once just before the examination and 
then immediately afterwards, before the results were known to 
the student. Most of the students were taking mathematics and 
physics, although some were from the department of social 
sciences. Certainly the affective situation here was much less 
severe than in the previous series, but, as will be seen below, 
there were definite signs of affect present even here. 

The subject was given 30 word-stimuli, 6 of which related to 
the situation of the examination, the other 24 being indifferent; 

1. field 

2. wall 

3. winter 

4. wanted 

5. time 

6. pen 

7. book 

8. spoon 

9. flowers 
10. water 

ii. examination 



12. boot 


roll (bread) 

13. house 



14. formula 



15. glass 



16. fire 



1 8. bird 



17. watch 



19. physics 



20. courtyard 




(In the instances where the subject was from the department of social 
sciences, Numbers 14 and 19 were substituted by words from those 

These experiments were completed by testing the blood, for 
catalytic activity, of the students during the state of diffuse 
affect. 1 


THE results of the investigation with the students taking examina- 
tions gave similar pictures to those seen in the first series. There- 
fore, we shall discuss in detail only the data which are specific 
for this group. 

The situation of the examination was much less traumatic 
than that of the "cleansing" ; nevertheless, the psychological 
structure of both was analogous. This may be seen from the 
following table: 


Reactive Time First experiment Repeated experiment Difference 

Average figure: M 1.8" 1.6" 0.2" 

2.2" 1.8" 0.4" 

Indifferent stimulus (M) 1.7" 1.5" 0.2" 

Critical stimulus (M) 2.2" 1.8" 0.4" 

Post-critical (M) 1.9" 1.6" 0.3" 

Average Variation 

Average figure: M 0.9" 0.6" 0.3" 

Average figure: Am 

Indifferent stimulus 0.7" 0.6" o.i" 

Critical " 1.6" i o" 0.6" 

Post-critical " 0.8" 0.7" o.i" 

Period of the speech reactions in the experiments with the situation of 

the examination. 

In table 6 we see the facts relating to the velocity of the speech 
reactions in our experiments. The average reactive time, ex- 
pressed in Am = 2.2", is markedly inhibited in comparison with 
the usual reactive time in the normal subjects; we see here a 
considerable inhibition in the speech reactions, even up to 
8-9-9, 5 seconds, which almost never happens in the normal. 

A great disturbance of the accompanying motor reactions cor- 
responds to the marked delay of the associative process; the 
movements indicate that these delays are not connected with 
the simple lowering of the energetic tones of behaviour, as occurs, 

1 Luria, et al: Examination and Psychical Reactions, Moscow, 1930. 


for example, in fatigue or in drowsiness, but they are the result 
of a diffuse excitation, breaking the normal associative process. 


Intense motor disturbance Whole motor disturbance 

Before After 

exam- exam- Before After Dif- 

ination ination Difference exam. exam. ference 

Average 70.7% 3.8% - 6.9% 22.7% 13.2% - 9.5% 

Indifferent stimulus 5.3% 3.8% 1.5% 13.3% 9.9% - 3.4% 

Critical stimulus 19.0% 7.3% -11.7% 30-8% 16.3% 14.5% 

Post-critical 6.5% 2.1% - 4.4% 15.8% 8.1% - 7.7% 

Disturbed motor reaction in the experiment with the situation of the 


Table 7 shows that 22% of all the motor reactions of the 
subject in the pre-examined state show the signs of the motor 
disturbances and that 10.7% of these signs are markedly dis- 

Both of these figures almost exactly coincide with the results 
obtained from those students who had to go before the "cleans- 
ing" commission. A detailed analysis convinces us that the in- 
ability to find the adequate association quickly, as well as the 
accompanying motor disturbance, is a result of that specific 
affective state present in the student awaiting examination. This 
and the other series of symptoms are particularly evident in 
the reactions connected with the situation of the examination, 
and such stimuli as, "examination," "accept," "commission," "to 
judge," etc., exhibit a sharp increase in the reactive periods 
(2.2" instead of 1.7" of the indifferent stimuli). A considerable 
variation in the speed of the reactions (mV =. 1.6" instead of 
the normal 0.7") and the distinct concentration of the motor 
disturbance connected with the speech reactions (19.0% of the 
intense motor disturbances instead of the 5.3%). 

Two tables are given illustrating this. Table 8 shows the 
average reactive time to the separate word-stimuli presented to 
the subject ; Table 9 indicates the quantity of motor disturbances 
corresponding to each given case. Hence the following fact can 
be established: all the stimuli relating to the situation of the 
examination show a sharp increase of the corresponding symp- 
toms, and we are able to choose from among the number of all 
the stimuli those connected with the affective situation, being 
guided only by the objective data. 

It is evident that the situation connected with the examination 






SffiBc r itioci 1 OIDpo^fcr'ti 



NO. y 




creates a special affective complex but this complex is char- 
acterised by a group of symptoms entirely suitable for objective 

A thorough analysis permits us to point out that for this situa- 
tion those mechanisms are characteristic which we have estab- 
lished in the first series. As we have already stated, the delayed 
reaction in critical cases in no wise can be related to any form 

fy.Afc. *T 


of hypotonus; the facts prove that there is present here, more 
likely, the reverse process: the delayed reaction is accompanied 
always by intense motor excitation, and this again indicates that 
behind these retardations there occur profound changes in struc- 
ture in the reactive processes themselves. 

In Figure 15 we have an example of several reactions to the 
word-stimuli "accept" and "commission." It is clear that accord- 


ing to structure the reactions differ sharply from the normal, co- 
ordinated movement. In response to the stimulus connected with 
the traumatic situation our subject is not able to carry out a 
very simple organised movement ; the regulating motor impulses 
strive to free the movements from their inhibitors, and they 
become chaotic-excitatory. In our cases the stimulus often pro- 
duces the direct motor impulse, i.e., the excitation, immediately 
destroying the coordination, becomes transferred to the motor 
sphere; and the whole latent period of the speech reaction is 
filled up by independent pressures (curve A) or their rudiments 
(curve C). In another group of cases the affective stimulus causes 
an intense process of excitation, not neutralised by the reaction, 
and after the speech response we see a distinct trace of excitation 
appearing in the whole cycle of spontaneous pressures (curve B) ; 
before us is again a panorama of that phenomenon which un- 
doubtedly is the psychophysiological basis of the perseverative 

The affect of the examination consists in, according to its 
psychophysiological mechanisms, exactly the same as the affect 
observed in the above series : the destruction of the higher cortical 
regulations, and the weakening or even breaking of that regulat- 
ing restraint which underlies every excitation occurring in the 
nervous system of the adult. First, the higher regulating 
mechanisms suffer from the affect, and the unobstructed exci- 
tation begins to flow into the motor sphere, distorting and dis- 
organising the behaviour. Recent analyses prove that the be- 
haviour in the state of affect causes the organism to revert to long 
past, primitive stages of development of the neurodynamical 

In the state of affect the person is not able to complete or- 
ganised systematic actions; he is deprived, as it were, of the 
possibility of carrying out a chain of facts with identical, equally 
spaced links ; he cannot perform five equal movements, give five 
speech responses with uniform speed. As an intricate machine, 
the regulating part of which is disjointed, turns out imperfect 
products, deviating from the standard by various defects, so the 
person in a state of diffuse affect loses the ability to give several 
regular, organised reactions. 

In Figure 16 we give the velocity of the speech reactions in a 
normal, control subject (curve A) compared with an analo- 
gous curve of a student before examination (curve B). That 
which we see here shows how far the disturbance of the regulat- 
ing systems caused by the affect has proceeded ; the majority of 


6 9 


A A 



5" 6" 6,4" 



the reactions in a normal subject is inclined to a definite medium 
type; the reactions of the affective person are very unstable in 
associative activity and he is not able to elaborate any stable, 
standard reactions; the disturbance of the regulative functions 
is evident here : the organism in the state of affect ceases to turn 
out a standard product. 

Two other curves taken also from the normal and affective 
subject are given in Figure 17. They show the intensity with 
which the separate motor reactions occur. An analogous picture 
is seen here: the separate motor pressures in the normal subject 
(curve A) ; the subject in a state of affect preceding examination 
is not able to perform a cycle of movements with equal intensity, 
and the curve (B) acquires a broken irregular character. 

All these phenomena are much decreased after the affective 
trauma is removed, and a student after examination usually gives 
considerably accelerated speech reactions, a decrease of their vari- 
ability, and a smaller number of motor disturbances (see Tables 
6 and 7). There is no doubt that this diminution of the symptoms 
of the disturbed equilibrium is the result of the removal of the 
affective situation of the examination. Especially evident are our 
figures showing that first, after the examination, the reactions to 
the critical stimuli are changed; precisely in these cases occurs 



tit II < 1 I I 

7 Z 3 V 5- 



the noticeable reestablishment of the normal type of the reactive 
processes. The whole process of such reestablishment we may con- 
sider with assurance an occurrence due to the removal of the 
affective focus. All the tacts convince us that the entire structure 
of the psychophysiological processes are markedly altered after 
the affective focus has disappeared, and if we compare the curves 
in Figure 18, we see how in one and the same subject the char- 
acter of the neurodynamic processes takes on entirely new forms 
compared with those existing in the preexamination state. 


>" 34' 

>' r" ?0\ r 

Fia . No 1 




THE mass character of the data obtained makes it possible to 
analyse typologically the reactions of the personality in the 
traumatic situation. 

Our material clearly shows that the various subjects during 
the experiment do not conduct themselves at all similarly ; while 
the behaviour of some of them is characterised by a very in- 
tense excitability, others remain rather calm and do not express 
an acute disturbance of coordination nor those marked affective 
symptoms which are so evident in the first group. 

In Figure 19 we submit two sections of the graphic protocols: 



the first of these is a characteristic experiment with the subject 
belonging to the reactive-stable group ; the second is character- 
istic for a group which we conditionally term the reactive-labile. 
These are both taken from experiments done directly on students 
waiting in line for the examination. The cardinal difference of 


the structure of behaviour in the two cases is evident from a 
glance at the curves; the reactive process of the first subject 
is characterised by his complete coordination and the relative 
regularity of his work; we do not see here sharp fluctuations 
in the time of the speech responses; the accompanying motor 
pressures are accurate during the speech responses, and regular 
in their successive forms; all the behaviour is characterised by 
an obvious regulating process, the preliminary and impulsive 
reactions being absent. An entirely different picture is seen in 
the behaviour of the second subject ; his general conduct re- 
flects this disorganisation; the stimuli produce rather marked 
and unequal delays of the speech reactions, and at the same 
time an acute discoordination of the motor activity. We again 
encounter those phenomena mentioned previously. Almost every 
stimulus provokes in this subject a direct motor impulse, often 
following immediately after the given stimulus and long before 
the speech reactions; frequently it is not limited by a single 
impulse and the subject gives numerous separate impulsive pres- 
sures. Again we are led to believe that every excitation beginning 
in the subject at once passes over without any obstruction to the 
motor sphere, conditioning the unorganised motor activity. 

We come to this fact: in different subjects the traumatic situ- 
ation acts dissimilarly. In some it does not produce an actual 
basis for the reactive process, specific for each complex reaction 
with a characteristic preliminary delay of excitation and its 
consequent organised transfer to the motor area, i.e., the structure 
remains unchanged; in others the affect disturbs fundamentally 
the normal structure of the reactive processes, destroying that 
which we conditionally designate as the "functional barrier." 
The excitation becomes diffuse, directly extending over into the 
motor region, causing an unorganised impulsive rupture of the 

The two examples given do not constitute the only cases : about 
30% of our subjects (30 cases) give a picture of intense reactive 
labileness; on the other hand, 25% showed reactive stability 
an unvarying relation to the traumatic influence. There arises 
the question: with what facts are the characteristics of these 
two groups connected? 

The first supposition is that some of our subjects fear the 
examination, while the others, feeling secure and well prepared, 
conduct themselves with sang-froid before the ordeal. Special 
control experiments, however, indicate that the symptoms ob- 
tained in both cases are almost identical in the well-prepared 



as well as in the incompetent students; the degree of fitness 
apparently does not play a role here. It is a fact that some 
students manifest acute affective reactions before the examina- 
tion, and others are calm, but the cause of this remains an open 

A more detailed study of the personality of students belonging 
to these groups throws some light on the situation. What are the 
characteristics of those students found in the experiments to be 
reactively labile? The following table gives us some hints con- 
cerning the answer to our problem: 



Subject Character of 
motor reaction 


Character of 
motor reac- 


1. impulsive 

2. u 

fatigue, anemia 
anemia, affective 

3. motor disturbance increased knee 

jerks, fatigue 

4. hysterical hyperthyroidism 


6. tremor 

7. separate motor 


9. impulsive 

10. deformed reactions 

11. unstable 

12. irradiated 


13. hysterical 

i. normal 


3- " 
4. " 












after commission 







neuropathic de- 



pression, affective 

in inter- 



normal slight 



tremor of hands 

normal neuras- 


thenia after ex- 








14. labile motor 


15. hysteria 

1 6. hysteria 

17. hysteria 

1 8. labile 


fatigue irrita- 

14. " 

IS- " 

1 6. normal 

1 7. normal 








Subject Character of 
motor reaction 


Character of 
motor reac- 


19. labile 

20. labile 

21. Irradiated disturb- 

ance of the mo- 
tor reaction 

22. inhibition of re- 


23. hysteria 

24. irradiated 

25. concentrated 

27. concentrated 


29. pathological 


30. irradiated 


31. labile motor 





vitium cordis 
anemia, tremor 
of fingers 



fatigue, headache 
increased reflexes 

nervous, palpi- 
tation, excita- 
fatigue, headadi 

19. normal 




fatigue, anemia 


Here we see the facts which suggest several differences of the 
reactive processes of the subject. It seems that the characteristic 
defect of the structure of the reactive processes observed are met 
with in people having a functionally damaged nervous system; 
exhaustion and anemia, increased reflexes these are the proc- 
esses which are generally operative in trauma of the organised 
behaviour; the facts are especially conspicuous if we collect 
them into a table (Table 10). 

We see that the results characterising the reactive labileness 
of our subjects in the face of a traumatic situation is connected 
with the neuropathic status; only 13% of those of the reactive 
labile group are normal, according to the first medical investiga- 
tion conducted; and conversely, only 16% of those reactively 
stable subjects show neuropathic results in the medical examina- 
tion. The degree and character of the reactions of the personality 
to the affective situation are primarily connected with the neuro- 



pathic status, with that fatigue or weakness of the nervous system 
seen in many of our mental workers. Obviously these neuropathic 
defects create the conditions which deprive the human of the 
ability to resist the traumatic situation and lead to inadequately 
intense reactions to that situation. 





Normal, healthy 
With neuropathic symptoms 
(psychasthenia, hysteria, etc.) 
With somatic defects 






Analysis shows that two main features appear here: first the 
unconditioned sensibility of the nervous system, and, second, 
special defects in the cortical regulators of excitation, in conse- 
quence of which every arising excitation manifests the tendency 
to pass immediately to the motor sphere. 

We shall see how these two factors are characteristic of the 
psycbophysiology of the functional neurosis, and it is not sur- 
prising that they are especially conspicuous in the traumatic 
situation of the subjects whose ordinary behaviour manifests 
neuropathic traits. 

Here w r e witness the confluence of affect and neurosis. The 
affective situation provokes a reaction similar in structure to that 
of the neurosis ; it creates, as it were, a temporary actual neurosis, 
which is most distinct in those subjects already having a neuro- 
pathic disposition. 

The experimental investigation of the reactions of subjects 
to a traumatic situation is indeed the path to the diagnosis of 
their neuropathic constitution. There have been many instances 
where the subjects of our experiments, giving a picture of reactive 
labileness have, after 6 or 7 months of strenuous living, become 
ill with neurasthenia, showing that our research may serve as an 
early diagnosis to neuropathic disease. 

Nevertheless, we meet with hundreds of cases in which the 
defects show only some slight functional weakness of the nervous 
system; and we cannot be led to consider them as neuropaths. 
Under ordinary circumstances their behaviour hardly deviates 
from the normal. However, we can with assurance expect that the 


very first experience with a vital difficulty will produce an 
upset and perhaps an actual neurosis. For the diagnostics of 
such a neurotic disposition we have a definite method this is 
the method of putting the subject in some temporary situation 
giving rise to an analogous difficulty, and investigating the influ- 
ence on the deformation of the reactive processes. The dis- 
turbance and the production of primitive, diffuse forms of excita- 
tion will definitely indicate the typological features characteristic 
of the personality. 1 

1 This will be discussed in detail in Part Two of this volume. 




TWO CONSIDERATIONS incline the psychologist 
studying the mechanism of affect to the investigation of 
criminals. The first of these has to do with the strength 
of the affective traumata and the experiences which we are able 
to observe in criminals. 

Psychologists occupying themselves with the affective life of 
the human have always attempted to study the actual affect 
which severely disorganises the whole activity of the organism. 
In these attempts psychologists hastened to use various artifices, 
wasting much ingenuity in trying to produce a marked affective 
reaction by shooting a revolver close to the ear of the subject, 
or showing pictures supposed "to remind him of something very 
disagreeable," or giving quinine, or demonstrating fecal masses, 
etc. 1 In all these cases the psychologists seeking to produce a 
stable acute affect most often were unsuccessful ; the state ob- 
tained was not sufficiently stable or well enough expressed ; or it 
was too artificial and shallow, not penetrating to any depth of 
the personality. This state was usually an emotional reaction to a 
partial situation, and one that never revealed the affect peculiar 
to the personality. 

The study of criminals and its inter-relations has many advan- 
tages. If we are lucky enough to obtain for experimental investi- 
gation a person who has just committed a serious crime, for 
example, a murder, and who was arrested after this crime, we 
are able to see very intense affective behaviour. Ordinarily the 
affect is obtained here from two sources : one, the affective experi- 

1 Numerous such methods are described in: D. Brunswick, The Effect of 
Emotional Stimuli on the Gastro-Intestinal Tone, Journal of Comparative 
Psychology, 1924, Nos. i and 3. 



ence, which still exists, connected with the crime itself; this 
happens especially when the subject has committed the crime 
spontaneously, without previously forming a systematic plan, as 
occurs most often with murderers; they therefore have a very 
strong affective disturbance. The more serious and the more 
unusual the crime, i.e., the sharper the conflict with the common 
social setting, the more intense will be this primary affect of the 
criminal. From this there usually proceeds a secondary affect. In 
the given case it is associated not so much with the crime itself as 
with the situation of the arrest, and with the expected possible 
punishment. The very deprivation of freedom evokes, as we can 
well understand, affective reactions : the awaiting of the sentence, 
generally associated with the feeling of no escape and indefinite- 
ness, produces this secondary affect ; and it is natural that this 
affect is stronger than the mere seriousness of the crime. In cases 
of murder and very important crimes in which the criminal may 
expect execution, this secondary affect attains its maximum. 

We can understand how suggestions (and it is not uncommon 
to meet cases in which the subject shows only the secondary 
affect, without the primary) concerning the arrest, the accusa- 
tions, suspicions, etc., relating to the crime furnish us with pre- 
cisely such a structure of the process. 

As a rule, in all of these cases we meet with an affective 
behaviour of exceptional strength depending upon the serious- 
ness of the crime, the labileness of the nervous system, and how 
soon we observe the culprit after the crime. It is obvious that 
the psychologists investigating the affective mechanics cannot 
easily overlook such material. The investigation of affect in crimi- 
nals is an exceedingly interesting problem. 

Along with this there arises before the psychologist another 
problem which is specific to the given material. If, during the 
investigation of the affect arising in the situation of the examina- 
tion, we were primarily interested in the symptoms of the diffused 
affective states, then in the study of the behaviour of criminals 
the first problem is the establishment of the affective traces 
connected with the crime. 

Can the psychologist studying the affective traces in the crimi- 
nal objectively establish his participation in the crime? 

The investigation of the influence of the scholastic examination 
on the psychobiological reactions of students proved to us that 
the definite trauma causes not only a general affective reaction 
of the subject, but a series of concentrated affective traces con- 
nected with this trauma. Studying the behaviour of such a subject 


we obtain a series of completely objective symptoms, showing us 
which group of trials are connected with the affective experiences. 
This makes possible the establishment, with some degree of cer- 
tainty, of the diagnosis of the trauma in the student, founded 
exclusively on the facts obtained by objective investigation. 

Is such a diagnosis possible when in the psyche of the subject 
there remain traces of the committed crime? This question is 
of great interest to the psychologist. It is obvious that every 
criminal after some known offence does not experience a "general 
affect" ; his affective experiences are concentrated around very 
definite associations with the crime-complexes. And if the psy- 
chologist is in a position experimentally to establish the value 
of such an affective trace which is present in the criminal but not 
in others (even in those suspected of the crime), then the problem 
of the study of the affective traces of the crime ceases to be a 
purely academic one and takes on a new meaning. 

It is not of so much interest for us to show that the employ- 
ment of the acute affect concentrated on the definite traces repre- 
sents a great convenience for the investigator as it is for us to 
be able to study this affect in the different stages of the given 
psychological drama (the arrest, accusation, sentence, pardon), 
for this affords us a special means of studying the affective 

We have produced exceptional conditions for the study of the 
above-mentioned questions. Thanks to the organisation of a spe- 
cial laboratory in Moscow (The "Procurator 7 ') it was possible for 
us to carry out our experiments very successfully. 

In contradiction to many other people occupied with the psycho- 
logical testing of criminals (Jung, Wertheimer, Ritterhaus, 
Loeffler, Heilbronner, Ph. Stein, O. Lowenstein and others), we 
were in a position to perform our experiments on subjects who 
had been arrested a few hours or days before, instead of 
those criminals who had been already liberated. When the con- 
ditions of the experiment required it, we obtained criminals 
before they were questioned and before they were told of the 
cause of their arrest. In special experiments we could trace the 
influence of the examination and of the sentence, repeating our 
experiments after the trial in the same way that they had been 
done before. Finally, we succeeded in performing a number of 
experiments on arrested people who were not guilty, but were 
by mistake suspected in one or another crime. 

During five years of investigation we collected material relating 
to about fifty subjects, the majority of whom were murderers 


or suspected of murder. In special investigations directed to the 
affect and complexes of the criminals we will discuss in detail 
the analysis of all our material. Here we must of necessity limit 
our discourse to a few special, illustrative, and typical cases. 


WE shall first take up the symptoms of the actual diffuse affect 
which we observed in our subjects. With confidence we can say 
that never, during all of our work on human affect and conflicts, 
have we seen people experiencing so sharp an affect, with so 
much disorganisation of behaviour. No kind of laboratory experi- 
ments can create such an acute and prolonged affect as that 
which we often observed in people a day or more after the crime 
and only several hours following the arrest. 

It would be possible to fill pages with a description of how 
our subjects conducted themselves, with what specific character- 
istics the behaviour of normal people differed from that of a 
murderer. For years during our investigation we saw subjects in 
whom traumatic experiences of the day evoked an affective stupor, 
and who came to us in a stuporous state ; we saw persons whose 
behaviour was characterised by a general tension, in whom there 
had been no premeditation of a murder ; there were those in whom 
every movement showed excitation, and there were others, exter- 
nally calm, reacting toward the crime as to a completed irrev- 
ocable event, and awaiting their punishment. Finally, and this 
occurred most frequently, there came to us people traumatised 
by their arrest, who expressed astonishment and positively denied 
all participation in the crime, and then, appearing in our labora- 
tory some days later, after confession of guilt in the murder, 
evidenced depression connected with the expected punishment. 

Let us return, however, to our chief problems. We shall limit 
our description to only the psychophysiology of those states. By 
what is the psychophysiological picture of the experienced affect 
characterised in the criminals? What mechanisms guide the 
behaviour in such a situation? 

We did all the experiments in our ordinary laboratory setting, 
presenting to each subject a series of word-stimuli and register- 
ing the accompanying associations and movements. We were less 
interested in the changes in the series of organic symptoms accom- 
panying the affective state in the subject (vegetative changes, 
variations in breathing, pulse rate, etc.) ; we were more con- 
cerned with the question of what characterised the behaviour of 


the subject when he was in a state of acute affect. The com- 
parative material permitted us to draw several conclusions con- 
cerning the specific mechanisms of the subject's behaviour while 
he was in the state of acute affect. We shall discuss a few of 
the fundamental mechanisms. 

(a) Difficulty of Establishing Organised Forms of Behaviour 

We have already noted that in the state of acute affect it is 
difficult and often impossible to elaborate any kind of regular 
and stable forms of behaviour. The organism appears to be in- 
capable of establishing any standard behaviour, any stable system 
of coordination, any constant reactive formula. The actions seen 
in the state of acute affect are characterised by their own acci- 
dental nature and lack of organisation, giving the impression 
that the organism is not able to establish the above stable autom- 
atisms, but it seems impelled to adapt itself to every stimulus 
presented. As a result we observed an unstable system of reac- 
tions, practically useless for the elaborations of stable reactive 
standards. This rule is primarily seen in the language reactions 
of our subject, while the normal subject responds to the stimuli 
with remarkable stability, easily forming his own standard of 
speed in the language answers, but the criminals whom we have 
studieu are completely unable to do this ; the establishment at a 
definite average of speed completely fails to appear here, the 
process is in the highest degree deprived of its automatisms, and 
the subject reacts with astonishing variable speeds. 

In Figure 20, we find the curves of the reactive periods in 
eight of the criminals examined by this method. 

All these eight cases were murderers, who came under our 
investigation two or three days after committing the murder, 
immediately after their arrest. During the examinations all of 
them were in a state of maximal affect. The curve of distribution 
which we give shows no kind of regularity, and there are usually 
not even the peaks generally obtained in the standard reactions. 
Such a phenomenon is entirely lacking in our subjects ; the affect 
excludes the formation of those "reaction patterns" which are 
so quickly formed in our normal cases. 

The fact that our subjects do not give stable reactions during 
the time of the tests is not explained by want of intelligence, or 
the unusual conditions of the experiments ; those subjects of the 
same intelligence become quiet after the first two or three reac- 
tions, and they elaborate their characteristic standard of speed 
and preserve it during the whole time of the experiment. In 



r r- f *' r 

Figure 21, we give two examples: two control subjects, of the 
same social position and development as our criminals, under- 
going the experiment for the first time but having no knowledge 
of the crime and not knowing why they were investigated, re- 
mained calm, giving perfectly regular curves of distribution of 
the reactive time with sharply defined peaks. 

3" '" 

Fiy. /VO. 2.1. 



It is obvious that the affect destroys one of the fundamental 
functions of behaviour: the function of the establishment of or- 
ganised forms, the elaboration of which has in American psycho- 
logical literature received the name of "reaction patterns" (we 
refer to them as "reactive formulae"). This function of elabora- 
tion of standard forms we may consider established for language 
Reaction by the tenth or twelfth year. The affect causes chaotic 
forms in the subject, characteristic of the linguistic reaction of 
a child seven or eight years old. In Figure 22, we have analogous 
curves of distribution of speed of the linguistic reaction in three 
children ; the first of whom is eight years old (with some mental 
retardation), the second, fifteen years old and the third a normal 
child of twelve years and eight months. 1 

*"*<:. - 

i" y< 

7" I 

r 2* 

The curves show that, in the child twelve and one half years 
old, the standard setting of the language reactions at a definite 
speed is already established, and the behaviour at this stage of 
activity is completely organised ; this organisation is not present 
in the eight-year-old mentally retarded child, and the process 
shows a complete deterioration in the idiot, who was unable to 
form standard reactive formulae in these complicated functions. 

Only in the youngest child and in the idiot do we see that 
disintegration in the coordination of the language reactions which 
we observe in criminals, although here we do not have a simple 
return to the previous stage, but at the same time, while the 

1 These curves are taken from the author's book, Speech and Intellect of 
the Developing Child, Moscow, 1928. 


children have not yet reached complex organised forms of reac- 
tivity, the affect experienced by the criminal is devoid of these 
organised forms. Below we shall again see that this external 
picture of destruction has in the two cases a very different basis, 
and that the destruction in the elaboration to the standard forms 
of reactivity in the criminal leads to the action of those affective 
traces which in him are unusually real; however, the psycho- 
physiological law here is unassailable : there is a sharply expressed 
inability to establish stable reactive formulae, and the passing 
over into chaotic and accidental reactions. 


Subject Crime " o 





Subject Crime 




.2 ^ 


Vorn. Murder 5. 





Shik. Suspected i 




of Murder 


















































































33 ^ 











































1.6" 1.4" 


Average 2 







2 ' 










Dborn. 2. 




Speed and stability of the language reaction in 27 criminals murderers 
and those suspected of murder. 

In Table n we give the figures which are characteristic here. 
We have chosen twenty-seven criminals ; sixteen of these were 
murderers, eleven were suspected of murder; all of these came 
to us immediately after their arrest. 

We submit the average time of the language reactions and the 
average variation in each of these; the first shows a marked 
retardation (in several as much as four to six seconds) ; the pic- 
ture of No. 2 is especially characteristic. If the variability of the 
normal adult subject reaches not more than 0.2" to 0.4", or 20% 


to 25% of its average speed, 1 then here we not infrequently meet 
with a variability of i"-i.8", 2.0" and the deviation is often as 
much as 40% or 60% of the average time, practically twice as 
much as the normal. 

We intentionally give here not only the group of murderers but 
also those suspected in the murders; they both give practically 
the same result, and, as we shall see further on, it is necessary 
to search for the specific differences between them in other 

The impossibility or, at least, the difficulty of establishing in 
the affect a stable reactive formula finds its cause deep in the 
nature of the process. The facts which we established concerning 
language reactions apply also to the motor reactions, accom- 
panying the speech. 

We usually obtained in our normal subjects stable accom- 
panying reactions very easily ; even after two or three trials, the 
pressure of the hand became connected with the language reac- 
tion in a stable manner, and later on it became automatic. We 
did not, as a rule meet, in our normal subjects, cases who forgot 
to press the bulb. The curves of the pressure correspond to each 
language reaction and give an equal or nearly similar series of 
almost equivalent pressures, certainly not varying in their form 
and very slightly varying in their intensity. 

We see an entirely different picture in people experiencing an 
acute diffused affect. The accompanying motor reaction is here 
very unstable; the subject often "forgets" to make the connection 
between the language response and the motor pressure, and this 
forgetting enters into the system, and is shown by the difficulty 
of obtaining stable automatic motor reactions in such a state. 
On the other hand when the subject gives the motor reaction, he 
is not able to elaborate any definite standard reactive formula, 
and the pressures are unequal, showing the different degrees of 
underlying excitation. 

In Figure 23 we call particular attention to the series of ordi- 
nates characterising the intensity of two different motor reactions 
in two of our subjects. The first of these demands special atten- 
tion. We see instability of the accompanying motor reactions; 
now they are present, now absent. At first, until the ^oth reaction, 
we have a series of decreasing motor pressures. Ordinarily the 
usual series of pressures preserves its strength for some twenty- 

1 For an index of the variability we take the coefficient ZWo ZW, i.e., 
the upper quartile. This is conditioned by the fact that the usual sharp 
decline occurs in our material only on the side of the inhibition, i.e., increased 
reactive time. 




v Hr. 



five reactions, and then the reactions begin anew to become irregu- 
lar, in places falling out altogether. The whole series proves that 
even such a simple act as the movement of the hand, which is 
associated with the speech response, cannot be firmly elaborated 
in this subject ; his behaviour during the experiment convincingly 
shows that at the basis of this lies the acute disturbed affect. 
The subject "Hram" was suspected of a very serious crime, and 
though she did not know anything about what she was suspected 
of, she was severely traumatised by the sudden arrest in a small 
town in the provinces and her unexpected removal to Moscow. 
During the time of the experiment she cried, and was very con- 
fused and agitated. In Figure 24 we give a sample from the 
continuous protocol obtained during the experiment with this 
subject; it shows variations of the reactions. 




In some cases the associated motor pressures are regular (Re- 
action 17) ; in others (Reactions 18, 19, 21), they are very much 
decreased; in still others (Reaction 19) the motor pressures are 
delayed. We do not have a general picture here, and the last 
protocol with acute excitatory pressures shows us that in this 
subject we cannot establish any typical model reactions; some- 
times the pressure is not as much as 3 mm., other times it 
reaches 40 mm., at times it is lacking altogether. In the last cases 
we actually have a complete failing of the motor component of 
the reaction, and the curve concealed by a constant tremor shows 
that here even the attempts to accompany the speech by the 
motor pressures have disappeared. The neurodynamic picture 
lying at the basis of the reaction is astonishingly unorganised; 
the disturbed excitation leads to a marked energetic destruction 
in some cases, and in others to a complete failure of the motor 

The affect gives a picture of complete destruction in the regu- 
lation of the disturbed excitation; the activity begins to be sepa- 
rated entirely by other factors than those observed in the normal 

We append here three parts from one and the same protocol, 
in the same subject, and we obtain three completely different 
pictures, as if there were three different people reacting. The in- 
tensity of the pressure, the form of the coordination, the violence 
of the disturbance show here complete differences and varied 

(b) The Instability of the Dynamics of the Excitation in the 

Reactive Series 

We immediately come to the second factor characterising the 
behaviour of the affectively excited subject. Whilst in the normal 
subject, the energy of the different reactions revealed consider- 
able stability in the course of the whole reactive series, in the 
affective subject it often varies. We chose cases where the motor 
reactions in the experiment had a tendency to become extin- 
guished toward the end, and the subject began to make a weak 
slow pressure. In our protocols we have the reverse of this case 
when having begun with comparatively weak motor reactions the 
subject passes during the time of the experiment into an increas- 
ing excitation, and this dynamics of excitation is shown in an 
acute change of the motor curves. Tracing the dynamics of the 


motor reaction we obtain a graphic picture of the dynamics of 
the excitation during the given period of time. 

Let us return to the reactive series b, illustrated in Figure 23. 
Before us we have the subject "Bel" accused in the same mur- 
der in which he was suspected Before the beginning of the 

experiment "Bel" conducted himself calmly, but during the time 
of the experiment he became excited; this is reflected in the 
dynamics of his motor reactions, and although in the beginning 
of the series his usual reactions reached 15-25 mm., gradually 
the intensity of the pressure became 45-50 mm., increasing the 
intensity of the reactive disturbances. 

As in the first case, the subject was unable to maintain a more 
or less equilibrated standard in the expenditure of energy ; this 
lack of equilibrium, however, is not so much a result of an 
incapacity to form a fairly stable organised set of reactions as 
much as an expression of the definite dynamics of excitation in 
the course of the experiment. The affect is characterised here by 
the impossibility to establish definite standards in the expendi- 
ture of energy, and involving in activity constantly more and 
more of its mass. The behaviour is characterised by the mobilisa- 
tion of the activity, extending far beyond the limits of the ascer- 
tained norms of the first reaction. 

Such instability of an expenditure of energy, the comparatively 
uneven profile of the experiment, the unequal limits of the 
energies of the different portions of the experiments is revealed 
in almost every part of the protocol ; and the variability of the 
motor pressures, a summary of which is given in Table 12, often 
attains to 35-50% of the basic average intensity for that subject, 
but in special cases reaches even beyond their limits. 

The energetic inequalities in the different parts of the behaviour 
is a very characteristic symptom for the affective state. 

The figures given in the table are by no means uniform, but they show 
only that the simple statistical analysis here is not always sufficient. Two 
factors have an unequal influence on the data obtained: first, our sub- 
jects are far from being in the same affective states; the extreme cases 
are represented by Nos. i, 23, 24, 25, 27, and these give a uniformly 
maximal variation in the reactive disturbances. Secondly, a bare analysis 
of the intensities of the motor pressures is not of great advantage because 
a considerable number of the motor reactions, and at almost the same 
height, show a sharp disturbance in their form. Therefore a simple 
mensuration of the intensities of the pressures according to their heights 
is futile; behind the external form very interesting figures may be con- 
cealed, and it is on this account often an unsuccessful process. 


8 9 







. Subject Crime M. 




. Subject Crime M. 




Vorn Murder ? 





Murder 28 




Mva. ' 





Suspected 36 








of Murder 













? ? 


















Mvg. ' 










Mva. * 


















1 1 % 


Corn. * 

1 06 







































Agap. ' 36 









Intensity of the motor reactions and their variability. 

M = median; MV abs. =^ variation absolute; 

MV % = median variation in per cent. 

(c) The Diffuse Excitatory Character of the Reactive Processes 

If we wish to indicate the specific peculiarity of the excitation 
characteristic of the disturbed affect shown by our subjects, then 
we should have to repeat emphatically that which we said in 
the analysis of the cases of mass affect. The chaotic behaviour 
of our subjects is characterised by the same impulsive excitation, 
the identical discoordinated reactions, the same actuality of the 
large mass excitation given by the reactions of the subjects who 
were not in a state of neutrality. 

We had best submit one of our observed examples of sharply 
disturbed affect. 

Subject Vorn, fifty years old, a baker who was accused of the murder 
of his wife with whom he had lived recently in a state of divorce. The 
murder occurred in a half-lit corridor of the apartment. The neighbour 
of the wife of Vorn heard her cries from the corridor, "Vasily (name of 
her husband) has killed me." Responding to the cries, she found the 
wife in a pool of blood, and carried her into the next room where she 
died before the arrival of the doctors. The autopsy revealed stab wounds 
from a knife in the region of the abdomen. 


Vorn was arrested the same day in his own apartment. He was ac- 
cused of the murder, but he denied it, claiming that someone killed her 
in order to obtain the use of her things. Two days after the murder Vorn 
was passed on to us for investigation. 

The behaviour of the subject during the experiment was marked 
by acute excitation: wiping his forehead, fidgeting about in the 
chair, and in the intervals between stimuli, he smacked his lips 
and muttered something to himself; from time to time, there 
was a quick movement of the feet, and the speech responses were 
now very deep, almost whispers, now in a high-pitched tone of 

The features which are common for all the behaviour are: 
the tendency of the immediate excitatory reactions to every 
stimulus, and diffuse excitation in the motor system during the 
intervals when there is no stimulation. The whole series of word- 
stimuli are responded to by answers containing many words, and 
it shows marked disturbances in form as follows : 

13. to cut 8.6" to cut no to cut bread what 

20. coat 2.2" well, coat, black 

2 7. paper 2.4" paper written read clean. 

39. iron 1 6.0" iron iron iron well iron goes in the car. 

48. sister n.o" sister well sister well, what of it? 

The organised associated activity of the subject is sharply 
disturbed, often the stimulus does not evoke immediately a 
definite word-reaction; the latent period, however, is filled with 
the speech excitation, the subject repeats many times the given 
stimulus aloud, seeking to find the proper answer. In all the 
instances the word given by the subject is not the prepared 
product of the answer thought of during the latent period; the 
reactive process is diffuse, it is not distributed over the phase 
of internal preparation and subsequent realisation of the answer, 
the excitation directly extends to the speech area, and a series of 
unorganised speech impulses is clearly shown in the changing 
structure of the reactive process. 

An especially marked category of such a form of excitation 
appears every time the subject makes a connection between the 
stimulus given him and the situation of the crime. This happens, 
however, at almost every step in the experiment : 

13. to cut 6.5" to cut ... well ... to cut bread . . . 

14. window 8.0" (confused, muttering to himself). 

15. wife 1 6.0" this you have asked in vain, what you ask is to no 
purpose, we have not cut anyone, nor thought about it 


1 6. neighbour 8.2" well, neighbour, well, Ivan, Sergei 

24. blow 10.4" why a blow . . . you can strike a blow on the table. 

25. belly 7.8" well, my belly aches today 

26. corridor 30.0" well, this you ask in vain, dear Sir, we were not 
there in the corridor 

79. fear 13.8" fear well, what of it well, here in this room where 
there is more fear than but why? 

80. grieve 6.8" one can grieve for his relatives and others, my 
daughter grieves that my wife has been cut up. It is a pity. 

An acute excitation, with confusion, whose contents arise in 
traumatic situations is seen very clearly in the associated proc- 
esses here without requiring further explanation. 

The affective process, however, may have other results than 
simply the excitation referred to above. In many cases the answer 
becomes echolalic, or perhaps there is no speech response at all ; 
the subject does not form any association to the word given 
him, and instead we get a long period of silence : 

23. hand 9.4" well, hand 

24. blow 4.8" well, what . . . well . . . blow 

25. belly 3.4" well, belly, what? 

26. corridor 4.4" corridor . . . well . . . corridor . . . 
43. wound 39.0" well, wound . . . 

50. jealousy 33.0" (coughs, clears throat, no answer) . . . 

88. to love 31.0" (refuses to answer) 

89. to change n.o" to change nobody . . . 

90. confection x 26.0" (refuses). 

91. to walk 17.5" (moves his lips, sighs, but the reaction is absent). 

Many serious considerations lead us to believe that these cases 
of silence and echolalia do not differ in principle from those 
responses accompanied by an acute excitation of the speech 
area ; we are inclined to put both of these into one group. Evi- 
dently the examples of excitation are only partial stages in 
which the impaired excitation destroys every associative process. 
The general behaviour, the fragmentary symptoms of the speech 
excitation, and finally the structure of the accompanying motor 
reaction confirms us in this belief. 

In Figure 25 we submit a part of the graphic protocol of this 
subject in order to show how deeply the functional disorder of 
the neurodynamic processes extended. We have purposely chosen 
the reaction of the repeated experiment (after a hundred previous 
reactions in the subject). We cannot say anything, however, of 

1 In the room of the murderer there were found $ Ibs. of confectionery 
which were probably bought by V. to persuade his wife to live with him again. 


the establishment of the coordination of the movements here; 
the latent periods are filled with marked tremors signalising the 
extreme excitation correlated in the central process, the signs of 
the motor excitation usually begin with the trace of the given 
stimulus and occupy the whole latent period ; the excitation which 
has just begun dominates the innervation and manifests a tend- 
ency to spread over all the free intervals (see the characteristic 
series after reaction No. 7) ; the general excitation produces 
tonic and rigid pressures (note slow beginning in reaction No. 8) ; 
the active pressures often are not coordinated with the speech 
responses. In a word, we observe neurodynamic chaos which 
does not, at first sight, manifest any lawful regularity. 





A closer examination, however, shows that this chaos is wholly 
a result of the definite neurodynamic changes observed in the 
affect and related to certain fundamental forms. Here we shall 
discuss only those of their characteristics illustrating the curves 
taken from the protocols of our various subjects. 

1. Each central obstacle produces disturbance of the motor 
excitation, often prolonged until after the speech reaction. 

2. The given stimulus frequently causes a direct motor im- 
pulse, not connected with the speech function, acting as a cata- 
lyser of that motor excitation whose setting is characteristic of 
the behaviour of the subject. 

3. The speech reaction given to the subject, connected by a 
command with a single short motor pressure calls out a series of 
motor impulses not altogether contained in the speech response 
and appearing in a succession of diffused motor pressures. 

4. Every foreign impulse (endogenous excitations thoughts 
entering the mind or external stimuli: noises, etc.) produces a 
direct transference of energy to the motor area and becomes 
manifest as a number of spontaneous motor disturbances. 



All these laws may be summarised in a principle which we 
have stated above: the disappearance of the reactive structure 
under the influence of the affect, the exclusion of the higher 
regulating functions and the transformation of the excitation into 
a process of diffused character. This occurs markedly every time 



77. DEEP 5.0" DEEPLY 

65. CHANGE 8.2" CHANGE . . 

the stimuli bring back to the subject the situation of his arrest. 

We shall give only some of the curves illustrating these laws. 

In Figure 26, we have some typical reactions of one of our 
subjects: "St." arrested for rape and murder. In this case the 
normal pressures are confused with sharply uncoordinated motor 
impulses, in which every obstacle in the speech reaction evokes 




35. POND 2.6" TO RINSE 


many impulsive pressures, going over into an acute, diffused 
tremor. This tremor usually terminates in a successful response 
(see reaction No. 65), and fills up the whole latent period with 
an obstructed reaction, appearing as the motor correlate of the 
destruction. There has hardly been a single one of our subjects 
in whom we have not seen, in greater or lesser degree, this 

In Figure 27 we give examples of two subjects in whom there 
is an individual catalytic action of the speech stimulus. 

The stimulus we give calls out, as a rule, a direct motor reac- 
tion. It catalyses, so to speak, the excitation existing in a con- 
cealed form, at once connecting it with the motor apparatus. 
This group of examples is characteristic of that motor setting 
established to a direct impulsive muscular reaction, which we 
encounter in greater or less degree in every subject during the 
state of affect. It is evidence of the weakness of the "functional 
barrier," of that difficulty to control excitation, to partition it 
from the motor area, which is characteristic of a functional 
neurosis as well as of the actual affect. 

Finally, Figure 28 gives two typical cases where the excitation 
beginning in the latent period is not connected with the reaction 
being tested, but is prolonged into several successive spontaneous 
impulses. In these two instances we first come into contact with 
the mechanism of perseveration, which will occupy our attention 
later on. 

All of this explains the mechanics of those cases (the examples 
of which are given in the curves of Figure 27) characterised by 
the sudden and incomprehensible appearances of the spontaneous 
impulses occurring during the intervals free from stimuli. 

All the examples prove that in the state of affect the reactive 
process acquires a diffused character, but that the behaviour is 
characterised by a constant and direct transference of each excit- 
atory process to the motor area. 

After this it becomes clear to us why, in such a state as we 
have in criminals only a few days separated from the crime and 
from the arrest by only several hours, the motor reaction should 
produce so large a number of disturbances never met with in 
normal subjects. 

In Table 13, we have a group of murderers and those suspected 
of murder who were the objects of our research. The figures 
reveal that the number of disturbances accompanying the motor 
feaures vary widely, but only in three or four of our cases are 
they lower than ten per cent; as a rule our subjects give from 


twenty to thirty per cent of such disturbances, and frequently 
this figure is considerably higher. 

It is characteristic in these cases that the secondary affect is 
built up on the primary affect of the crime, but there is another 
group in which the affect is connected only with the arrest, and 
sometimes with the suspicion ; in both of these groups, as far 
as the relations of the accompanying motor system are concerned, 
there is no remarkable difference; the irradiated disturbances of 
the motor reactions occur in nearly equal degree here as well 
as there. 



. No 




10. FISH 2.8" MEAT 






Subject Crime 


No. Subject Crime 



Vorn. Murder 


15 Nigam. 




Mva. * 


1 6 Dvorn. 






1 7 Shish. 

Suspected of 



Sm. ' 






1 8 Fil. 




Zhv. * 


19 Skor. 



Mva. ' 


20 Mozg. 




Mvg. " 


21 Ivan. 




Agaf. " 


22 Bib. 




Corn. " 


23 Zagr. 






24 Hram. 






2 5 Vora. 






26 Vas. 




Agap. " 


27 Bel. 



Even where there is a considerable variation in the quality 
and quantity of the motor disturbances it depends mostly upon 
those individual and typological differences which we shall further 
on l have an opportunity to see in more detail. 


THE problem of the actual diffused affect in the criminal is 
interesting but still not specific for this material. The special 
question here is that of the possibility of discovering the experi- 
mentally psychological path of the affective traces of the crime, 
and in such a way to establish the diagnosis of the participation 
in the crime. 

If, in the experimental seance, there is actually an objective 
and scientific means of establishing traces of the person's past 
and especially concerning his affect and traumata, then it is per- 
fectly natural that for psychology there is opened up an enor- 
mous territory, very interesting both theoretically and practically. 

The question of the experimental diagnostics of participation is cer- 
tainly not a new one, and its history is exceedingly interesting. Even 
a quarter of a century ago the problem of the experimental psychological 
determination of participation in crime was discussed by the well-known 
criminologist H. Gross, and many investigators worked on it, constantly 
applying the methods of the associative experiment. Jung, Wertheimer, 
Heilbronner, Loffler, Rittehaus, Stein, A. Gross, and others attempted 
to use the method of the experimental diagnostics of participation. Freud 

*See Chapters III, B, 3, and also Chapters VIII and IX. 


and Stern have occupied themselves with this question; Mtinsterberg and 
other criminologists have studied the problem hopefully, and in 1910-11 
there was not a more fashionable topic in psychology than the artificial 
manifestation of traces of the affective past. The subject was then 
dropped for about a decade after the appearance in 1911 of Lipmann's 

There were two reasons for the disappointment connected with these 
researches: the majority of the investigators did not use actual criminals, 
and the psychologists created artificial situations which they intended to 
be similar to the crimes, but which were, of course, deprived of the 
affect connected with the actual crime. The criminals who did come into 
the hands of the investigators were usually accidental or they were 
ruined for this purpose by cross-questioning, trials, or conviction and 

consequent psychical disease Also there were some disappointments 

arising from the method itself; the associative experiment produced traces 
of definite affective complexes, and, therefore, it was not suitable to 
record objectively the phenomena. The elaborated method of analysis 
of the associative reactions and the appearance of the symptom com- 
plexes was insufficient; the accessory difficulties might produce symp- 
toms similar to the affective, but fairly complicated complexes might 
be reflected in other systems than that of the associative system. In the 
attempt to estimate the accompanying affective traces of the symptoms 
it became necessary to employ auxiliary methods not purely objective. 

Now there appeared a new cycle of investigations, attempting to 
employ the objective registration of psychophysiological processes, and 

often more modest questions Beginning with Tarchanov, Veraguth, 

Binswanger and other authors, they tried to apply to the diagnostics of 
the affective traces a method of the physiological reflexes. Others 
Benussi, W. Smith, and Larson used the respiration, the pulse, and the 
destruction of certain internal structures of equilibrium as an objective 
establishment of concealment and lying. Finally there was a third group 
from among the old investigators, like R. Sommer, who attempted to 
trace the reflection of the affective traces in the involuntary movements 
(Lowenstein, M. Seelig). 

Our researches are more closely allied to the last group, exhibiting 
however some radical changes in the establishment of the questions. In 
contrast to the former experimenters, we were able to use as material 
actual criminals taken usually before investigations and cross-questioning. 
Thus we were sure that we obtained material characterised by a con- 
tinuous and strong affect; and, in contradistinction to the latter investi- 
gators, we made use of the reflection of the affective traces not in the 
passive system but in the active behaviour measured by our new method. 

Both of these factors enable us to place the question of the experi- 
mental diagnostics of participation on a more objective basis. 

The behaviour of our subjects during the time of the experi- 
ments showed that not only is the simple diffused affect (about 
which we have spoken above) characteristic, but there is mani- 
fest a sharply marked area of affective disturbance. This focus 
appears each time that the word-stimulus touches the situation 
of the crime and causes marked changes in the graphic record 


as they are objective symptoms connected with the criminal 

We arranged all of our experiments in such a way that the un- 
differentiated word-stimuli were of equal value for the subject, 
and such as were connected with the situation of the crime en- 
tered into the structure of the criminal act. We estimate that every 
such word, by virtue of its entrance into the general affective 
complex, calls out in the psyche of the subject all this complex, 
with its entire affective tone, 1 and we are able in the person who 
has participated in the crime to witness the manifestation of 
symptoms characterising the disturbed affective focus. 

Here we unavoidably come to an explanation of the difficulty : 
the subject is in such a position that he most of all desires to 
avoid compromising himself, and he applies all of his strength 
in order to conceal and inhibit what is going on in his mind. The 
symptom is not only seen in the subject, but simultaneously in 
the tendency to inhibit the disturbance. 

Two questions arise: 

1. Can we objectively establish the symptoms appearing in 
the response to the critical stimuli, so that we can differentiate 
the participating criminal from an innocent person? 

2. Can we objectively establish them under the conditions of 
that resistance by the subject who is trying to conceal the appear- 
ance of the compromising affective traces ? 

We can best answer these queries by submitting the material 
from three typical cases. The first of these is one of murder where 
confession was obtained before our experiment ; the second case 
was one in which the subject denied his participation in the mur- 
der, but proof of his guilt was forthcoming later ; and finally the 
third represented one of a less serious nature pilfering but all 
the conditions remained as formerly. 


Eighteenth of January, 1025, Mva., 28 years old, came to the porter of 
the house in which she lived and reported that she had found her hus- 
band (Mv.) in the bed, murdered, with a crushed skull and a cut throat. 
An investigation was quickly made and it was revealed that the murder 
was committed by Bv. living in that apartment, at the request of the 
wife (Mva.) of the murdered man for this she promised him 18 rubles 

1 At present it is immaterial to us whether we speak of the conditionally 
evoked reaction, as Pavlov does, or of the law of redintegration, according 
to Hollingsworth. For us it is essential that the stimulus be able to call out 
in the given case the whole complex related to that situation from which 
it is taken. 



(ten dollars) and the overcoat and cap of her husband and that Mva. 
herself, as well as the wife (Bva. 32 years old) of the murderer, took 
part in the killing. 

The course of events was as follows: It was arranged that Bv. kill 
Mv. after a drinking party which was to take place in the apartment 
of Mv. and his wife. After the carousal, Mva. left the house, thinking 
that when she returned her husband would have been killed. However, 
when she came back she found nothing had happened, and she went to 
Bv. who said that he had not yet been able to get an axe, and he asked 
her to return again in a half an hour, promising that her husband (Mv.) 
wculd be dead after that time. When Mva. returned, Bv., remaining in 
the apartment with his wife (Bva.) and with Mv., had killed him with 
a blow of the axe, put him in the bed and covered him with a blanket, 
after which he began to break into the cupboard, thinking that he would 
find valuables there. Entering about this time, Mva. assured herself that 
her husband was dead, put on the samovar, took a basin and washed 
the bloody spot from the floor. It was previously decided that the body 
should be thrown into a neighbouring pool but this was not done, and it 
remained in the bed. 

Both of the women, Mva. and Bva., were arrested. They did not deny 
that the murder was committed by Bv., and the only doubt was in 
the degree of their active participation. Bva. said that the murder was 
done at the request of the wife of the murdered man, but Mva. reported 
that it was on the initiative of Bv. and his wife, Bva. 

As a control, a woman on the same intellectual level of those arrested, 
32 years old, was taken. 

The experiment was carried out the 22nd of December, 1925, four 
days after the crime. The subject was given 75 word-stimuli, which were 
then repeated: 12 of these were directly connected with the situation of 
the crime, several were chosen so that in a certain setting they could be 
connected with this situation. 

We submit the list in full: 

i house 

20 paper 

39 to allow 

58 oven 

2 forest 

21 overcoat (k) 

40 overshoes 

59 foot 

3 hours 

22 train 

41 amber 

60 hut 

4 eyes 

23 cap (k) 

42 horse 

6 1 bed 

5 glass 

24 flowers 

43 Jacob (k) 

62 snow 

6 bread 

25 money 

44 letter 

63 basin (k) 

7 lamp 

26 white 

45 blanket 

64 floor 

8 oats 

27 weather 

46 polka 

65 knock (c) 

9 spectacles 

28 candle 

47 tobacco 

66 blow (k) 

10 kind 

29 sin (k) 

48 husband 

67 water 

ii rock 

30 glue 

49 table 

68 axe (k) 

12 to go 

31 quarrel 

50 red 

69 gums 

13 bucket 

32 rye 

51 dress 

70 trough 

14 window 

33 Peter 

52 pipe 

71 love 

15 neighbour 

34 cotton 

53 wine 

72 change 

1 6 pie 

35 pond 

54 cupboard (k) 

73 head 

17 lake 

36 iron 

55 vestibule 

74 god 

1 8 carriage 

37 advice 

56 to promenade 

75 salt 

19 tea 

38 Maria 

57 to*crush 



The facts we obtained manifested the acute symptoms of affect, 
remarkably concentrated about those cases in which the stimuli 
presented to the subject are connected with the situation of the 
crime. Table 14 gives a statistical review of these facts. 



Reactive time 

Motor disturbances 


G '3 
t-H (0 



of critical 


1 1 

C *,3 

>-H CO 




of critical 



2.2 " 











+ 77% 
+ 70% 

Notwithstanding the fact that the critical stimuli we have 
chosen are not always accepted by the patient as such, and, on 
the contrary, other stimuli which we estimate to be indifferent, 
often are taken by the subject as connected with the situation of 
the crime notwithstanding this, the reactions to the group of 
critical stimuli are characterised by a sharp increase of inhibition 
and by a marked rise in the number of disturbed accompanying 
motor reactions. 

Practically all these cases of acute inhibition of the speech 
reactions and almost all the instances of the motor disturbances 
coincide with the stimuli connected with the situation of the 

Although the first reactions in both of these cases have a normal course, 

Subject, Mva. 
5 glass 1.6" frame 

Subject, Bva. 

5 glass 1.2" mouth (persevera- 


6 bread 1.3" salt 

7 lamp 0.8" tea (perseveration) 

8 oats 2.0" wheat 

9 spectacles i .6" (perseveration) 


the words connected with the situation of the crime produced inhibition 
in both cases: 

6 bread 1.9" knife 

7 lamp 1.6" fire 

8 oats 1.6" land 

9 spectacles 1.6" glass, etc. 


Subject, Mva. Subject, Bva. 

43 Jacob 4.0" calling Jacob 13 bucket 3.8" what shall I an- 

44 vestibule 6.0" vestibule to swer you ladle 

paint 21 overcoat 3.4" the coat 

57 to crush 13.0'' to crush, Oi! 25 money 3.4" paper 

I do not consider it neces- 29 sin 4.8" what shall I say 
sary to do this, now, I don't know hours 

68 axe 4.0" to cut wood with 31 quarrel 4.0" peace 

As can be seen from the above summary, these inhibitions are 
not accidental; it is characteristic that all the post-critical re- 
actions are in a certain degree inhibitory; the experiment when 
repeated shows inhibition in the same groups of stimuli. 

The affective character of all the delayed reactions appear in 
bold relief when we pass over to the analysis of the accompanying 
motor reactions. In Figure 29 we see records of the experimental 
graphs from both subjects ; we compare here the average motor 
reactions to the indifferent stimulus with the motor reactions of 
those cases in which the given stimulus was connected with the 
situation of the crime. 

We see that even if the external course of the associative re- 
action appears calm, in reality there is concealed behind it an 
acute neurodynamic change; the excitation in all these cases 
shows the connection of the given stimuli with the affect, and 
we are able to reestablish in the recorded reactions the separate 
components of the affective situation of the crime. 


On the 1 5th of January, 1926, a body of an unknown man was found 
in a pile of snow, in a courtyard of a house. The body was lying on its 
back, in underclothes, with the valenka (Russian felt boots) beside it. 
The head had been split by a heavy instrument, on the body were stab 
wounds, and the whole body was dirty with coal dust. Tracks in the 
snow led to a blacksmith shop, and there the instrument of the murder 
was found a sledge-hammer bespattered with blood, and the remains 
of a charred, bloody shirt. 

The owner of the blacksmith shop, Sm., 30 years old, was suspected. 
The murdered man was the porter from a neighbouring house, and he 
and Sm. often drank together. It was found that the day before the 
murder they were seen together, drinking in a saloon. The preliminary 
investigation showed that on the morning of the isth of January, Sm. 
went to his blacksmith shop by an unusual way which led through the 
court where the body lay, but by a roundabout path. After arriving there, 
he then went to church, which was not his custom, and remained some 
time. It was also brought out that during the night of the isth of 
January he was at home and did not sleep, but smoked a great deal. 




4.0" CALLING JACOB; 63. BASIN 2.8" TO WASH IT; 68. AXE 4.0" TO 


3.4" PAPER; 31. QUARREL 4.0" PEACE 

On being arrested, he denied any participation in the murder. Our 
experiment was done the i6th of January, 1925, i.e., one day after the 
crime. Among 70 word stimuli (the general list remained without change) 
there were fourteen which had a direct relation to the situation of the 

15. porter 30. hammer 46. body 61. tracks 

1 6. quarrel 36. blow 51. knife 70. blood 
27. money 44. spot 59. to cut 

29. boots 45. shirt 60. to drag 

As in the previous case, during the experiment stimuli were in- 
troduced which could, under the given conditions, be associated 
with the situation of the crime. 

The results we obtained were closely analogous to those of the 
former experiment. Table 15 gives a list of the critical stimuli 
showing a marked concentration of all the affective symptoms. 
The control subject in this case, as well as in the previous one, 
does not give any symptoms relating precisely to these complexes. 
Thus in the criminal the reactions to the stimuli connected with 
the crime show considerable inhibition and an increased number 
of disturbed motor reactions, notwithstanding the fact that the 
subject denied his participation in the crime. These facts are 




Reactive Time 

Motor Disturbances 



G ' 

> i in 



of critical 








3- 1 " 


+ 30% 



e A C/ 




especially convincing when we recall that among the critical 
words we introduced stimuli calling up the details of the situa- 
tion of the crime, which otherwise are entirely indifferent. 

Just as in the case before this, the first stimuli give a quick and 
adequate reaction: 

5. pie 1.6" sugar 

6. hay 1.8" wood 

7. horse 2.4" wolf 

8. matches 2.0" iron 

9. butter 1.9" kerosene 

The delayed reactions coincide either with the critical stimuli 
or with those directly following them, and this comes out as a 
clear picture of the details connected with the affective com- 
plexes : 

1 8. quarrel 2.0" to scold 

19. falsely /.j" is 

61. tears 3 6" wood 

62. lamp 4.0" to light 

15. porter 3.6" hut 

21. money 4.6" love 

29. boots 3.1" wood 

30. jacket 4.4" boots (perseveration) 
36. blow 4.1" to talk 

49. body 4.0" wood 

56. snow 3.5" water 

61. tracks 3.6" wood 

70. blood 3.8" death 

Besides these cases we have not met with a single instance in 
our experiment of a definite inhibitory reaction, and the connec- 
tion of the delay with the affective complex is obvious. The fixed 
motor disturbances convince us again that behind these delays 
lie the conflicting excitatory processes. 

Figure 30 illustrates the disturbances in our subject. When 
we recall that these disturbances are strictly concentrated, arising 



from entirely normal motor reactions, we are able to understand 
how the symptoms that we obtain furnish us with objective 
evidences of a series of traces which are connected in our subject 
with his crime, in spite of all the energy he applies in order to 
conceal the fact of his participation. 

We have had an opportunity to investigate repeatedly and in 
detail this subject and the reactions which occurred in him and 


FOOL; 55. TO CRAWL 3.2" TO SLEEP; 61. TRACKS 3.5" WOOD; 71. 

3.8" TO CARRY 

their symptoms, comprehensible only after the investigation had 
established the whole situation of the crime, and Sm., having de- 
nied his participation, had confessed it. 

Here is the picture of this crime: on the i4th of January Sm. and 
his friend, the janitor, were in the saloon, and upon leaving they started to 
the blacksmith shop, intending to empty another bottle there. When they 
had arrived Sm. asked his friend when he was going to pay him the two- 
ruble debt which he owed. When this was answered in the negative, Sm. 



grabbed the hammer and struck him on the head. The wounded man 
fell and began to groan and crawl on the floor. Sm. became very fright- 
ened, and, according to his story, he grew sorry for the struggling man 
and finished killing him with a knife; after this he removed the outside 
clothing which was spattered with blood, burned it and buried the body 
in the courtyard, where it remained. 

After giving this history of the crime, the disturbances coin- 
ciding with such stimuli as money, blow, knife, hammer, drunk, 
to crawl, tracks, quarrel, etc., are easily understood. 


On the 1 3th of May 1926, in one of the Moscow factories, a window 
had been broken and a ventilator stolen. The janitor, Uv., 28 years old, 
was suspected. He was arrested and accused of the theft, but denied it. 

The experiment was done on the isth of May 1926, two days after 
the crime. As a control we used a man 28 years old, similar in develop- 
ment to Uv. but ignorant of the purpose of the experiment. 

Along with the fifty word-stimuli were seven relating to the 
situation of the crime: 

19. money 
26. ventilator 

28. window 
33. to break 

39. glass 

40. to shatter 

44. instrument 

This case is characterised by two distinguishing signs : the sub- 
ject would not admit his guilt, and the crime was very slight 
in comparison to those we have described ; this is shown by the 
diminished acuteness of the accompanying affect. 

However, here the group of stimuli connected with the situation 
of the crime produced a marked concentration of all the symp- 
toms (see Table 16), and practically only the critical reactions 
in our subject are characterised by signs of disruption. As in the 

TABLE i 6 


Reactive Time 

Motor Disturbances 




cs a 

c3 Q 



s .5 
.^ 3 


^O .^ 


.^ 3 





"S ^ ^S 

c s 


'S ^2 

u & 





o % 



















+ 4% 


cases cited above the graphic charts show quiet, regular move- 
ments, separate foci of reactions having a delayed speech re- 
sponse and considerable motor excitation. These reactions are 
so strongly connected by their content with the situation of the 
crime that the separate details stand out before the investigator 
very boldly. 

*H . 



f ' 



MENT . . . 

Figure 31 gives us several reactions typical of Uv. We pur- 
posely employ at first reactions almost similar and not showing 
any special disturbances; the simple associative experiment is 
not suitable to bring out this difference. The neurodynamical 
processes lying behind the external reactions are very different, 
and the fact that the accompanying motor curve is in one in- 


stance regular, and in the other is distinguished by characteristic 
impulses and acute tremors, indicates what a considerable amount 
of excitation is concealed behind this externally calm picture. 

The accompanying motor reactions make possible here the 
establishment of objective symptoms which with the definite 
group of answers in the subject are connective affective traces, 
but these affective traces lead us directly to the establishment 
of the factors associated with the situation of the crime. 

We have chosen three characteristic cases. In a separate re- 
port we have analysed them in detail, but here we are concerned 
with the fact that in almost all of these instances the affective 
traces of the crime are manifested in our experiment by a group 
of objective symptoms usually relating to the inhibitions of the 
corresponding speech reactions, and by the characteristic signs 
of excitation reflected in the motor area. We are now convinced 
that by a purely experimental method the psychologist is able 
to answer positively the question of the possibility of an objec- 
tive diagnosis of criminal participation. 

There can naturally be raised an objection to the method of 
our experimentation: even in those cases when the suspect de- 
nied his participation in the crime, he was accused, and this 
obviously produced in him. an affective reaction. Is it not true 
that we are investigating this reaction of accusation, thinking 
that we have before us the affective traces of the crime? 

We have two answers to this very just complaint. First, we 
hardly ever give to the subject stimuli directly connected with 
the charges. Usually, and in other experiments this is especially 
clear, the entire list of critical stimuli is confined to the details 
of the situation of the crime, and these are unfamiliar to non- 
participants and those who may be arrested by mistake. The 
presence of the symptoms connected with these details are evi- 
dent signs of participation. 

On the other hand we give the actual facts, challenging and 
abrogating this objection. We succeeded in making a series of 
experiments before any conversation with the people arrested, 
before they were accused of anything, and these experiments 
gave us affective symptoms by no means weaker than those which 
might be introduced; and, on the other hand, we had an op- 
portunity to perform experiments on persons arrested by mistake 
and who did not participate in the crime, and such experiments 
indicated without doubt the complete absence of symptoms 
connected with the crime in those who were not guilty. We shall 
discuss one of these cases in detail. 


ONE of these cases is of especial interest on account of the 
unusual material, as well as the definite results, which it brings 
to us. 


In February, 1927, in one of the Moscow railroad stations, there was 
found a sort of basket addressed to the city of Bryansk. The basket 
appeared suspicious, was opened, and in it was the body of a woman 
clothed in a tunic. She had been killed with a sharp instrument; the 
corpse was tied about with ropes and wrapped in pieces of paper and 
squeezed into the basket. 

The paper which was around the body indicated the place where the 
murder had been committed; on it was written the name of the restau- 
rant "The Bear." This paper was apparently taken from one of the tables. 

Simultaneously with the finding of the corpse, Citizen Sh. of Kiev 
received a letter containing a baggage check. The letter advised him 
that he might obtain his wife in Bryansk and it was signed "Unknown." 
The writer of this letter apologised that he could not send the body to 
Kiev, as he did not have enough money. Citizen Sh. was summoned to 
Moscow and there he recognised in the basket the body of his wife. 

Subsequent investigation established the fact that the basket was 
transferred by a drayman, given him as freight. The baggage receipt was 
signed, evidently by a fictitious name, Kartusov. 

The suspicion in this murder fell upon several people, and 
after a few days the following seven were arrested : 

i. Iva, 26 years old, the proprietress of the apartment in which 
Citizen Sh. of Kiev usually lived. 

2-4. Bva., 33 years, Zagr., 24 years, Hran, 30 years, friends of 
the murdered woman living in Kiev. 

5-6. Vor., 45 years, Vas., 46 years, the first being a pensioned 
invalid, the second an unemployed person; both of these lived 
in Moscow, and, according to information obtained, met with 
Citizeness Sh. in the last days of her life. 

7. Vel., formerly a hair-dresser having known the murdered 
woman in Kiev and then having met her in Moscow. 

All of these subjects were brought to the laboratory imme- 
diately after their arrest, and none of them was questioned 
before experimentation. Bva., Zagr., and Hran. were taken in 
Kiev and immediately brought to Moscow, where they were met 
at the train and at once transferred to the laboratory. Thus we 
had at our disposal exceedingly pure material ; none of them had 
any knowledge of why they were arrested. 

The subjects were given a series of 80 word-stimuli among 
which were the following fifteen critical words: 



21. basket 36. baggage 52. Kartusov 63. check 

24. train 38. station 54. dray (receipt) 

25. "The Bear" 43. freight 56. woman 70. Bryansk 
30. letter 49. cashier 58. load 

76. Marusya (name of the murdered woman) 

It is comprehensible that the first thing that we meet in this 
material is the marked affect shown by the subjects, especially 
the women arrested in another city and brought to Moscow with- 
out telling them the exact motive of the arrest. There was present, 
of course, an especially acute affect ; they sobbed and cried during 
the experiment and were entirely incapable of concentrating on 
the long list of words and became quickly fatigued the picture 
of acute affect. We call attention to the fact that the above- 
given characteristics of diffuse affect were obtained primarily on 
the basis of the experiments done on these subjects. There was a 
comparatively long reactive time and great variability, extreme 
disturbance of the character of the motor curves, showing the 
presence of an intense excitatory process. 

However, in all of these experiments we did not find any traces 
of affects regularly concentrated about the critical group of words. 
The affect showed a diffuse character and the reactive symptoms 
of the disturbances were met with in the neutral as well as in 
the critical stimuli. 

Table 17 gives a statistical summary of the results. 

TABLE i 7 


Reactive Time 

Motor Disturbances 


13 c 



i ^ 

*C P 

O O 


( t/l 

' 3 

.y .2 

M "3 

o "*3 

i 'D 

^ *n *o 

M 1*3 

^ 3 

V ""p 

^ "C *?5 

8 S 

: c. 


^ 13 

C! 4- C 

T3 C 



s "if 

C ^- ^ 

HH c/1 


P-l in 

hH O .J^ 

HH V2 

o w 

PH i 

HH O -b! 

I. Iva. 




+ 5% 





2. Bva. 








+ 16% 

3. Zagr. 









4. Hran 




+ 10% 





5. Vor, 




+ Q% 

6. Vas. 








- 5% 

7. Vel. 








+ 13% 

The figures describe a picture differing widely from that which 
we have just seen in our other three cases. 
We are often confronted with the situation in which the figures 



obtained are not convincing, and we become irritated when the 
figures do not correspond to the results which we should like to 
see. Our subject, however, is complicated, and the living, human 
personality is not always adequately expressed in simple figures ; 
in such cases a concrete analysis aids in bringing to light the 

Figures, nevertheless, give us a fairly definite picture. In the 
majority of our subjects the reaction to the critical stimuli is 
not more inhibited than the reaction to the indifferent stimuli; 
in all subjects, even those seeming to have some inhibition in 
the critical reactions, it was not much more than the probable 
error (exceedingly large in the diffuse and unstable series) and 
in no measure can it be taken as authenticated. 1 In our experi- 
ments the fact that the critical stimuli do not represent a specific 
affective group of reactions is clearly evident from the accom- 
panying motor curves whose average appearances do not differ 
from that of the general disturbances. 

Here we submit parts of our protocol, which prove that our 
critical stimuli do not differ essentially from the others: 

Subject Iva. Subject Bva. Subject Hram. 

19. wall 1.2" walls 19. wall 2.2" floor 19. wall 2.2" rock 

20. spectacles 2.0" 20. spectacles 1.8" 20. spectacles 6.4" 

eyes eyes What shall I 

say, eyes 
21. basket 2.2" fish 


36. hare 2.2" cat 

37. station 3.4" 


38. pie 2.6" curds 

39. grass 1.8" plow 

22. watch r.8" case 
33. brush 2.2" stick 

70. ring 2.4" finger 34. ring 1.2" cart 

71. to paint 3.2" to 35. baggage 1.8" 

36. hare 2.4" forest 

21. basket 1.4" 21. basket 2.0" to 

wolf sell 

22. clock 2.4" chair 22. clock 1.8" 

watch chain 

33. brush 3.4" shoes 29. Rostov 2.6" 


34. wheel 2.2" 


35. baggage 2.8" 


72. Bryansk 2.0" 


73. chemise 2.0" to 37. station 2.4" cars 


74. overcoat 1.6" 38. pie 1.8" flour 

to put on 

39. grass 4.4" well, 


ir rhus in the subject Zagr., we have an increased reactive time during the 
critical stimuli equal to 29%, while as an average variability the whole series 
has a value of 42%; thus, more than 20 reactions have a reactive time greater 
than 3.4" and the index of the reactive time in the critical stimuli can, of 
course, not be accurately estimated. 


We cannot give here the reactions to all the critical stimuli in 
our subjects; but in another place we shall take up this in its 
detailed analysis. 1 One thing is clear: notwithstanding the dif- 
ferent cases of the observed inhibition coinciding with the critical 
stimuli, we do not meet here with the picture of a definite group 
of reactions which we can call "critical"; the experimenter 
becomes impressed with the fact that the subjects in this group 
lack those affective traces which we had formerly seen. 

The character of the separate reactions to the critical stimuli 
are well illustrated by two portions of our graphic protocols 
shown in Figure 32. The subjects here described belong to two 
different reactive types: the motor system of one is relatively 
stable, and during the experiment he is quiet except for a tremor 
of the left hand (the subject was an alcoholic). The second, 
judging by the symptoms, belongs to the reactive labile type; 
he is not able to coordinate accurately his movements with the 
given speech reactions, the disturbance is irradiated over the motor 
system (the experiment was complicated somewhat, owing to the 
fact that the right hand was paralysed and the left hand had 
to be used instead) ; in the given subject the general affective 
tone is coloured by his confusion and by his not understanding 
why he was arrested and brought to experimentation. The gen- 
eral tone of the reactive processes in both cases is different ; but 
in both we have a common factor ; the reactions to the "critical" 
stimuli are just the same as to the others, and the neurodynamic 
character of the process concealed from us does not differ from 
that in the other reactions of the subject. 

In connection with this, Figure 27 A is of especial interest; the 
complete disorganisation of the reactive process is evidence of 
a very marked diffusion of the affect in subject Zagr. From this, 
however, we can not find the disturbances which would allow 
us to point out in our patient very active affective traces ; on the 
contrary, all the results can be attributed to the diffused reaction 
caused by the traumatic situation of the arrest. 

We shall use one of the cases from this series in our analysis. 
The following is evident : in a number of our subjects we obtain 
a picture of diffused affect without concentration of the affective 
symptoms connected with the situation of the crime. In these 
instances we can speak of the differential diagnosis of partici- 
pation in crime and the separation of the guilty from those who 
have been by mistake arrested innocently; or expressed in the 

1 The Affects and Complexes of Criminals, Chapter VII. 




20. PEN 3.6" TO WRITE; 21. GOOD 2.6" AT THE BAZAAR is A POND; 



language of psychology, between those having a diffused state 
of the actual affect and the concentrated traces of the affective 


THE affect of the criminal which we are studying is an affect 
of vital significance. Therefore, we may expect to find here a 
peculiar and definite manifestation of its dynamics. 

The criminal is certainly far from being indifferent to his 
experiences; but, on the contrary, he puts himself in an active 
relation to this experience ; its trauma, urging him into activity, 
conditions the dynamics of his behaviour. 

The acute state of the trauma, complicated by the necessity 
of concealing it, bound in by the fear of expressing itself, creates 
in the criminal a state of exceedingly acute affective tension; 
this tension is very probably exaggerated because the subject 
is under the fear of disclosing his crime; the more serious the 
crime, the more marked the affect, and the greater the danger 
of disclosing it, the more this complex is suppressed, and we 
have already seen what a remarkable destruction of the most 
important neurodynamical functions characterises the behaviour 
of the criminal. 

That the state of the criminal in whom the tension cannot 
find exit anywhere may become actually insufferable is beauti- 
fully illustrated in the pages of great literary productions. 

The suppression of the complexes is here truly insufferable, 
and the subject experiencing them is certainly not in a condition 
to remain passive during the course of this affect; he must 
orient himself in such a way that he discharge the tension and 
save himself from an external play of excitation, which upsets 
all of his behavour and keeps him incessantly under the fear 
of detection. 

Such a tension is undoubtedly one of the most serious factors 
for the criminal in the recognition of his guilt. By confession 
the criminal has the means to avoid the affective traces, to find 
an exit for the tension, to discharge that affective tonus which 
created within him an unbearable conflict. Confession can elimi- 
nate this conflict and restore the personality in a certain degree 
to a normal state, and this is its psychophysiological significance. 

The psychophysiological role of confession has been evaluated 
for a long time; the ancient teaching concerning catharsis con- 


sidered confession in offences an expiation; Christianity in its 
use of confession always employed this psychological principle 
of alleviation, and brought about avoidance of the affective 
traces by having the subject relate the sins troubling him to an 
official of the church ; finally, all psychotherapy, and especially 
every therapeutic system of psychoanalysis proceeds from this 
principle, which is connected with the transfer of the complexes 
and a relief of the tension in the consciousness. This principle, 
so well established in the various therapeutic processes, is directly 
connected with the powerful process of elimination of the affec- 
tive complexes; and precisely this is the specific value of the 
therapeutic effect of psychoanalysis. 

In the situation of crime, we may expect the influence of 
such avoidance in especially marked forms. Admission of guilt 
removes from the criminal those restraints which controlled each 
of his steps and every one of his thoughts and created an ex- 
ceedingly acute conflict of very marked tension ; thus confession 
is a path to the relief of affect and to the reestablishment of a 
more normal functional life. 

From the psychophysiological investigation of crime and con- 
fession, we may expect, consequently, extreme changes in the 
behaviour compared to what it was before confession, the re- 
moval of acute symptoms of affective traces connected with the 
crime, and, finally, the removal of the suppressed complex striv- 
ing to express itself in some activity, the control of which is 
weakened. On the contrary, the confession should give us a 
psychophysiological picture of discharge, ventilation, and, con- 
nected with this, a certain calmness of the behaviour. The ex- 
periments on the psychophysiology of confession arouse in us, 
then, a deep theoretical interest. 

We shall now discuss a case which well illustrates the psycho- 
physiological picture of the processes we have described. 


On the 28th of January 1927, in a garbage can in the courtyard of 
one of the Moscow houses was found a body of a half-dressed woman, 
whose head was crushed by some kind of heavy instrument. Investigation 
traced her back to a dwelling occupied by seasonal workers, where there 
was living at that time only one person, a house painter, Fil., 47 years 
old. In the room were found traces of blood, and in the stove an unusual 
bulk of ashes and the charred remains of a woman's dress. It seemed 
that the body was carried from the room in the garbage can between 5 
and 7 o'clock on the morning of that day. The rigidity of the body, 
however, made us think that the murder was done at least a day before. 


The painter, FiL, was arrested immediately without warning 
and brought to the laboratory. After the experiment he was cross- 
questioned but he did not admit participation in the killing. 
During the next two weeks he was put in prison, and twice 
questioned; on one of these occasions he related the following 
story : 

On the evening of the twenty-sixth of January, he met a strange 
woman on the street to whom he proposed that she spend the night 
with him, and to this she agreed. Fil. escorted her to his house, they 
drank a bottle of vodka together and then they lay down to sleep. 
During the night he awoke, feeling that the woman was searching his 
pockets. He began to curse her and hit her on the head, first with his 
fists, and then with a stick of wood; the woman fell down, and he, being 
drunk and confused, went to sleep again. In the morning he saw that 
the woman was dead. He searched her to find the money that she had 
stolen from him, removed her coat, and took it to the market and sold 
it "in order to recover from his spree." Returning home he burned the 
clothes which were stained with blood, and put the body under the bed, 
where it remained all night long. Having decided to hide the body in the 
garbage can, in the morning he took it down, placed it there and cov- 
ered it up. About the crime itself, according to him, he did not remember 
much, because he was extremely intoxicated. 

We did three experiments on him: one immediately after his 
arrest (two days since the murder), and before the questioning, 
on the same day after the questioning but before he had acknowl- 
edged his guilt, and finally two weeks later, immediately after 
his confession. This permitted us to follow step by step the whole 
dynamics of his affective processes. 

In the first and second experiments he was given thirty-five 
word-stimuli, among which the critical were: hammer (afterwards 
it was shown that this had no relation to the crime), stove, 
garbage, dress. Here we obtained two series of valuable associa- 

In the last experiment there were eighty critical word-stimuli, 
and these were in addition to those given below: 41. overcoat, 
44. woman, 48. stick (of wood), 49. head, 53. body, 56. blood, 
64. to trickle, 65. sign, 70. trial, 74. cross-questioning. 

The first thing that we noticed characterising the behaviour 
of the subject in our first meeting with him was, as we might 
expect, an intensely diffuse affect, disturbing all of his actions 
and making all of his psychological operations unstable. 

Table 18 shows that his reactive time as well as the character 
of the accompanying motor acts are distinguished by instability. 
The average reactive time of his speech reactions was fairly 
slow and extremely unstable, the curve of its distribution very 





Reactive Time 

Motor Reaction 

Before questioning 
After the first questioning 
After confession 









25mm 24% 
1 5mm 80% 
47mm 8.5% 






diffuse; the accompanying motor pressures were extremely un- 
stable in their intensities, and a large per cent of them were 
greatly distorted in form. Such were the characteristics of the 
psychophysiological state of the subject immediately after arrest, 
before he was accused. 

The first cross-questioning was accompanied by his accusa- 
tion, but it did not lead to his confession. With what psycho- 
physiological changes was this accompanied? The results can 
be seen in Table 18: they are characterised by a sharp exacer- 
bation of the affect. The speech reactions begin to occur more 
slowly, the motor reactions finally become uncontrollable, and 
we observe the characteristics of the diffuse affective process, 
which we have noted above: the established stable standard 
reactive forms are destroyed; the subject is not able to make 
two movements similar in their intensities and forms ; the motor 
excitation acquires an acute, irradiated character, and the number 
of motor disturbances is increased to one hundred per cent. It 
is obvious that the accusation produces an acute precipitation 
of the affect. 

In Figure 33 cuttings from our graphic protocols illustrate 
this. True, the neurodynamics of the first experiment show the 
signs of an acute impulsiveness; the possibility of the elabora- 
tion of definite standard forms of reactions (reaction patterns) 
are absent, and the subject is very unstable, giving movements 
varying in intensity; but only in the second experiment, after 
the accusation, did this process of disorganisation take on its 
actual acute character. The general diffused excitation produces 
here a marked irradiated tremor, the functional delay of the ex- 
citation is finally destroyed, and each impulse directly extends 
into the motor area, markedly disturbing the coordination, and 
we have before us a characteristic picture of the diffused reac- 
tive process, disturbed by the acute affect. It is evident that 


the representation of the accusation revived the acute affective 
traces, transforming the affect into an actual state, and there 
being no path of exit to his affect, there resulted a sharp state 
of conflict. 

This acute state of the affective tension is certainly connected 
with the manifestation of special traces of affective groups asso- 
ciated with the crime; the reactions having a direct connection 
with the situation of the crime are characterised by symptoms 
of an especially marked inhibition and disturbance; after the 
cross-questioning these disturbances in the critical cases became 
more acute, and we are impressed by the marked actualisation 
of the concrete affective traces, under the influence of the ques- 
tioning; although in the first cases we encountered most often 
the mechanism of the consequential, perseverative disturbances; 
in the second experiment, the whole series of disturbances have 
a sharply expressed actual character: 

First Experiment Second Experiment 

74. garbage 4.2" earth 24. garbage 5.6" no, earth 

25. nail 5.2" iron 25. nail 5.8" wood 

27. clothing 2.4" cold 27. clothing 7.8" well, boots, I 

do not know what to say. 

28. butter 0.2" butter 28. butter 9.2" milk 

The acute dispersed excitation, entering into the behaviour 
of the subject, is characterised by a factor which we think is 
very important; it explains much in the mechanism of the 
affective dynamics and elements of confession. We call this 
mechanism the suppressed complex; it consists in this: the affec- 
tive traces, not having been eliminated, have a tendency to 
express themselves, notwithstanding the strong resistance of the 
subject, and actually they do manifest themselves in those cases 
where the control of the behaviour is diminished and the be- 
haviour follows the course of the lower automatisms. 

After the first questioning, when Fil. denied his guilt, we 
gave him an opportunity to associate freely, telling him to say 
any words that came into his mind. The series that we obtained 
as usual consisted, in a fairly superficial chain of associations, 
of frequent repetitions of the stimuli given him in the experi- 
ment; in this series, however, the tendency to reproduce con- 
fusedly the series of words was well marked, and the jumble 
of reproduced words appeared to be exactly those words which 
were directly connected with the situation of the crime. Here 
are the words: 









Scythe hammer axe scythe shovel forest wood wall 
window electrical ceiling boots clothing shed warehouse 

bath house court house horse cow sheep shepherd 

hay water sand clay earth dung garbage dirt 
galoshes snow frost grass forest clothing cap sweater 

hut shed bread, etc. 

The free associative series brings to light those complexes 
which should have been very carefully guarded. The jumbled 
repetition of some of the details of the crime shows that the 
general dispersed excitation manifests a confused tendency to 
reproduce separate affective traces connected with the crime; in 
this suppressed affective complex, we see one of the factors caus- 
ing the subject to be very uncomfortable and leading to confession. 

The subject admitted the whole crime after two weeks, and 
the facts which we obtained compared with those of the experi- 
ment done immediately after the arrest clearly showed that the 
confession led to the removal of the affective conflict and restored 
the subject to a much more normal and stable form of behaviour. 
In Table 18, we can see these facts: after the confession, the 
speech reaction becomes quicker, the ability to give regular and 
stable reactive movements is restored, the movements become 
less inhibited, the number of motor disturbances are sharply re- 
duced, the neurodynamical process assumes a stable and normal 
form. An examination of the graphic records in Figure 33 shows 
that after the confession the reactive process is restored and 
has its normal structure. The detailed analysis convinces us 
that the confession smooths out the affective character of the 
traces connected with the crime; in the first experiments all 
the critical reactions were attended by considerable inhibition, 
but this phenomenon was much diminished in the last seance. 

The process of confession of a crime is of great importance 
psychophysiologically. The annihilated conflicting character of 
the process, leading to the removal of the affective traces, does 
away with the affective tension which characterises the be- 
haviour of the criminal for some time from the date of the 
trauma produced by the crime, and until the open confession 
of his guilt. Of course, we cannot state that every criminal has 
equal reactions; for the dynamics of the affective processes the 
chief interest lies in which of them are actually connected with 
the crime; the delay of confession produces a much more in- 
tense conflict; precisely in these cases is the influence of the 
removal most marked 

We still have a certain doubt which has not disappeared 



even after the above discussion. Can the given results lead to 
an actual confession; or can it be that the time elapsed after 
the crime weakens the excitation arising from the arrest? 

Certainly the time influences the dynamics of affect and so 
does removal; however, the material which we bring forth indi- 
cates that one factor of the removal was sufficient to alter sharply 
the picture of the reactive processes. 

We shall cite only one very typical case: the subject Corn, who 
committed the murder, was arrested and carried through the experiment, 
and then cross-questioned, and immediately afterwards he confessed; 
then he was again experimented on. The setting and the whole procedure 
(the arrest, both experiments and cross-questioning) were done in the 
course of several hours, and this allowed us to eliminate the factor of 
time, and to show that the confession actually changed the character of 
the psychophysiological processes. Table 19 summarises the results. We 
see that the confession produced an immediate fall of the reactive time 
and a diminution of all the symptoms connected with the affective traces 
of the crime. Obviously there remained considerable excitation (30% of 
disturbed reactions in the repeated experiment), but this can be attributed 
to the fact that in both cases the affective state did not have time to 
recover. The remaining changes, however, are sufficiently sharply ex- 
pressed in the experiment to show the results of confession. In spite of 
this, that here we have a subject who is not trying to conceal and 
deny his guilt, the confession after the cross-questioning is most bril- 
liantly reflected in the affective dynamics. 


Reactive Time 

Motor Disturbances 





Index of 





Index of 

















2.6" 54% 





+ 30% 






2.2" 9% 






Subj. Corn: The Dynamics of the Symptoms in Relation to the 


Confession in crime has its own serious psychophysiological 
correlate; the confession, itself, appears in many results of the 
peculiar affective factors, of the definite dynamics of affect, whose 


removal it produces. In the light of psychophysiological analysis 
its mechanism becomes clearer to us, and, at the same time, 
we are able to understand the psychophysiological basis of such 
phenomena as the Christian Confession or catharsis of the an- 
cients. It is perfectly obvious that precisely these mechanisms 
are operative in the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis, the 
neurodynamic analysis of which must represent one of the most 
interesting pages in the program of the further psychophysio- 
logical experimentation. 


WE should be greatly mistaken if we thought that our subject 
remains completely indifferent during our experiment and pas- 
sively awaits the expression of the affective traces in his definite 
external symptoms. 

In our situation the matter is really just the reverse: the 
subject is always highly interested in order that he shall not 
demonstrate or disclose his affective traces; threatening him 
in case of discovery of the crime is the fear of punishment 
which always keeps him on guard, and if he is not forced into 
confession, then this fear conditions a certain strategy of the 
subject, designed to conceal the traces of his participation. 

It is difficult to state how much of this strategy is conscious. 
Often the measures employed by the criminal to conceal his 
guilt are skillfully devised; frequently they are na'ive and per- 
ceptible even to the inexperienced. The psychology of criminal 
strategy is exceedingly interesting, constituting an enormous 
problem, proceeding directly from our investigations. One prob- 
lem, however, directly connected with our experiments, we cannot 
pass over in silence. 

A peculiar strategy is already manifested by the subjects in 
our experiment, and we are often witnesses of the process of 
the accouchement of the strategical measures in an entirely new 
setting for our subject. We should like here to dwell on only 
one of these measures, met with, however, very often. 

Jung x has already brought out the fact that associations con- 
nected with the affective complexes have a tendency to assume 
primitive forms. The response through extrasignalising, sense- 
less or perseverative, or phonetic reactions, Jung considers one 
of the most pathognoftionic signs of the affective complex. Our 

1 Diagnostische Assoaationstudien, 1910. 


material wholly confirms this position, and the reason that 
we do not emphasize it more in this work is only because this 
feature of the affective symptoms has already been most thor- 
oughly studied. 

The fact that we should like to bring out here consists in this : 
the simple associative reaction, formerly connected to the symp- 
tom of the affective complex, is often converted in our subjects 
into a measure which they use as an aid in trying to avoid the 
manifestation of the affective symptoms. 

In effect, the simple extrasignalising or phonetic reaction 
relieves the subject of that difficulty in which the critical stimu- 
lus connected with the situation of the crime puts him, and this 
reaction allows him to give a neutral answer, having avoided 
the compromising one. Precisely such a character of the primi- 
tive reactions causes the criminal to make a connection with the 
primitive, simple type of reaction, to elaborate a stereotyped, 
extrasignalising or echolalic reaction every time that the stimulus 
presented to him steps on dangerous ground, as far as the mani- 
festation of the complex is concerned. 

In all of our material we have hardly met with a single case 
which did not have the signs of the lower forms of associative 
reactions; in the beginning it was manifested as a symptom of 
the confusion created by the affective complex; however, the 
symptom of the affect quickly passes over into a means of its re- 
pression, and we begin to see with remarkable regularity a linking 
up with the primitive type of reaction every time that the 
stimulus touches a part of the affective situation. 

In the more acute cases of dispersed affect we have a mani- 
festation of echolalia during every acute affective stimulus, as 
for example: 

Subject Vn. (accused of the murder of his wife; she was 
killed in the corridor by a knife stab in the abdomen). 

23. hand 9.4" hand 

24. stab 4.8" stab 

25. abdomen 3.4" abdomen, what of it 

26. corridor 4.4" corridor, well . . . 

43. wound 39.0" wound 

44. knife 5.9" knife 

Here we see that echolalia is again an evident symptom of the 
affective process; the dispersed inhibition shows that it cannot 
yet be used in the speech reaction as a means of suppressing the 

However, in the further experimentation when the dispersed 


affect was less acute, and the subject was quieter we already 
find the signs of a more ordinary reaction as a means of the 
subject avoiding the affective response. The quick and confident 
manner of making the reaction and the manifestation of stereo- 
typy or echolalia each time during the presentation of the critical 
stimulus may serve as a true sign of the fact that the reaction 
has already become here a factor in the behaviour. 
We shall give several examples from our protocols: 

Subject Sin., a blacksmith, who killed the janitor of a neighbouring 
house (see above Case 2), and at the beginning of the experiment, showed 
an acute disturbance to the critical stimuli, as for example: 

janitor 3.6" hut (with motor disturbances) 
body 4.0" wood, etc. 

In the further experimentation, stereotyped responses appeared when- 
ever a critical word was presented. As a result of such a linking up we 
obtained : 

36. blow 4.1" to speak 

39. business 2.6" to speak 

48. neighbour 1.8" to converse 

59. to cut 1.6" to speak 

68. to die 2.8" to converse 

15. but janitor 2.3" to speak 

36. blow 1.4" to converse. 

39. but business 2.2" to converse. 

48. but neighbour 1.6" to speak 

59. to cut 2.0" to speak 

60. but to drag 8.0" to speak 

61. but tears 1.8" to speak 
68. but to die 3.2" to speak 

The assuredness of the responses and the reactive times show us that 
the stereotyped answer permits of the suppression of the affective course 
of the reaction. 

Subject Gor. after a quarrel, killed his neighbour with an axe, and 
gave such a picture, following several considerably disturbed reactions, 
for example: 

27. to cut 12.2" I can't think of anything ... finger 
96. quarrel 3.6" scold, 

he gives a stereotyped character of reaction with almost every critical 

36. quarrel 2.4" person 

50. to fight 2.2" person 

55. mouth 1.6" -person 

57. blood 4.2" person, etc. 

Subject Mv. (murderer of sister-in-law) having given adequate asso- 
ciations, after presentation of words having to do with the murder, gives 
a stereotyped reaction. This can be considered partly as an inhibition 


after the affective shock, partly as a linking up with a primitive type 
of reaction: 

71. valley 14.5" old woman 

72. mushrooms 10.2" well, birch mushroom 

73. teeth 3.2" white 

74. book 4.2" white 

75. fish 4.0" white 
77. thread 3.0" white 

A similar fact we see in subject Drob. (murderer of his fiancee), after 
presentation of words referring to the killing he shows echolalia: 

55. Nousha 2.0" Nousha 

56. to hide 1.6" to hide 

57. head 1.2" head 

58. rape 2.6" rape 

59. night 1.6" night 

60. meeting 1.6" meeting 

All the above cases show, that by means of linking up with 
the primitive reactions, principally that of stereotypy, the sub- 
ject is able to avoid the compromising reactions, and often also 
the manifestation of affective symptoms. We submit a section 
from the graphic protocol showing the stereotyped reactions of 
subject Sm. which we have described above. 

36. BLOW 4.1" TO SPEAK 

59. TO CUT 1.6" TO SPEAK 

68. TO DIE 2.8" TO SPEAK 

36. BLOW 1.4" TO SPEAK 

61. TEARS 1.8" TO SPEAK 

If we compare Figure 34 with those critical disturbances typi- 
cal for this subject, which he gives in those cases where he does 
not employ the linking up with the stereotyped reaction (see 
Figure 30), we will be able to understand the role played by the 
strategy made use of in the domination of the affective reaction 
and in the suppression of the affective symptoms. 

If we recall the large number of similar linkings which we 
have met with in our experiments it will be clear to us why it is 
necessary for us to make a correction, and after this the symp- 
toms characterising the participation in the crime stand out in 
bolder relief. 

We may obtain perfect analogies of the strategy of the subject in com- 
paratively pure form in experiments with artificially produced repressions. 
We read a story to the subject, asking him to conceal everything that 
he had heard; then we performed an experimnet with him analogous to 
that which we had done with the criminals. 




6.6" BUSY; 20. CROSS 2.8" FAITH; 23. CHURCH 2.4" FAITH; 38. 


This material is not recorded here; but it showed us that the problem 
of concealment is far from easy, and that the method we successfully 
applied called out critical symptoms in connection with the attempt to 
hide the traces of the tale known to the subject. 

Here we applied the method which we have used above. The appear- 
ance of the stereotyped responses was most often the means employed 
by the subject in avoiding the repressed traces. 

In Figure 35 is given the graphic protocol from one of such experi- 
ments. To the subject it was proposed to conceal a tale read to him 
about a church robbery. In the beginning of the conirol experiment he 
gave several reactions which were exceedingly compromising for him; 
after this by giving stereotyped answers he avoided the compromising 
symptoms. The gradual domination of the stereotyped answers, as a 
means of adaptation, are clearly seen here, thanks to the accompanying 
motor curves. 




WE HAVE discussed in detail the problem of symptoma- 
tology of the affective processes and the problems of 
their dynamics. From the material available we have 
shown that the affective foci can play an important role in human 
behaviour and that their course, which disrupts the normal 
activity, itself is subject to some constant laws. We have analysed 
the mechanisms of affective disorganisation, using as an actual 
affect the expectation of a traumatic situation, as well as those 
affective traces left in the psyche of the person after previous 

In both cases, we have come to the necessity of establishing 
accurately all the symptoms shown by the affect ; the mechanics 
of its disrupting role, and the dynamics of its development. For 
these purposes the material we used was indispensable ; but still 
it appeared to be far from sufficient for the full analysis of the 

The psychologist, as compared with the physicist and the 
chemist, finds himself in a very unfavourable position ; even with 
the best possible experimentation he usually has to admit regret- 
fully that a great many of the facts he analyses are beyond his 
control, not capable of being recorded, and that he does not hold 
in his hands nearly all the ends of the process under his re- 
search. The psychologist envies the chemist, who can easily and 
completely reconstruct the processes which he analyses, arti- 
ficially decomposing and uniting substances, synthesising the 
object of his research and following up the lawfulness of the 
structure he has obtained artificially. From envy comes desire, 
and difficulties evoke energy to combat them; this is why the 



experimental psychologist with extraordinary perseverance has 
again and again returned to the task, being entirely in possession 
of material and coming as close as possible to that freedom felt 
by the physicist ; the chemist and partly the biologist, in their 
respective fields. 

The ideal for the psychological experimenter has become the 
possibility to reconstruct artificially the phenomenon under ex- 
amination, because only this enables one to keep it entirely under 
control. The psychologist's ideal became a method by which it 
would be possible to produce in a laboratory a model of the 
phenomenon analysed, by which he could bring into the psyche a 
new ingredient and could follow up the changes provoked in it 
by these artificially created factors. 

That desire of the psychologist to possess knowledge of the 
process, by artificially creating it, appears especially justified 
in the study of the mechanics of affect. In fact, when we analyse 
the elaborated affective reactions we can never be quite sure 
that the process under our research is known to us in sufficient 
detail ; we have purposely taken those affective situations which 
follow the cycle of the affective complexes rather closely; we 
have attentively studied the mass situation of examination or the 
individual situation of crime; but we could not at all be sure 
that the affective traces, considered by us as central, in reality 
did not conceal behind them many situations unknown to us 
and very much more traumatic to the subject than those evident. 

We tried to rely on the objective analysis of the changes, which 
are brought into the neurodynamics of the subject analysed by 
the traumatic situation ; however, we still worked largely in 
the dark, because the objective situation of the trauma naturally 
never quite corresponds to its reflection in the psyche of the 
personality, and that psyche, which is defined by the very compli- 
cated past experience, was entirely omitted from our record. 

It is quite comprehensible, therefore, that only an artificial in- 
sertion of an affective complex into the psyche of the subject, 
which complex is known in all details, can create for the psy- 
chologist a situation where it would be easier for him to record 
all the factors forming the affective reaction. The course of our 
experiments has shown us that way. 

The work on the artificial creation of affective feelings is not 
easy; it is especially difficult if the psychologist wants to obtain, 
not a simple affective reaction to some disagreeable irritation, 
but a more or less genuine affective feeling somewhat acute and 
stable, and one which could only artificially be inserted into the 


psyche of the person under test during the experiment. Here 
are discarded automatically the methods commonly used in the 
psychology of affects. The method of shocks and the varieties 
of the "method of impression" by Wundt usually create very 
superficial affective reactions, and do not leave in the psyche, 
deep affective traces. 

We decided to follow the course of artificially creating some 
affective complexes or rather their short-term models, feelings 
which provoke a natural emotional reaction of the person under 
test, and leave conspicuous traces for a certain period of time. 
We had to create feelings of important intensiveness and stability, 
and for that end we used hypnotism. 

We suggested to the person under test, while in a sufficiently 
deep hypnotic state, a certain situation, more often a disagree- 
able one, in which he was playing a role irreconcilable with his 
habits and contrary to his usual behaviour. We made those sug- 
gestions imperatively, and forced the person under hypnotism to 
feel the situation suggested with sufficient painfulness; we thus 
obtained an actual and rather sharply expressed acute affect. 
After awakening the person under test and following the awaken- 
ing by amnesia (a suggested one or a natural one), we had a 
subject who was "loaded" with certain definite affective com- 
plexes, which mostly remained unknown to himself, but which 
were recorded by us in almost all important details. 

We inserted into the psyche of the person under test definite 
affective contents, and were thus able to see how those contents 
were met by the personality of our subject under test, how they 
became obscured by certain details and were liable to certain 
changes, how they became affective traces, and how they con- 
tinued to act on the behaviour of the person deprived of the 
knowledge of them, and, as if becoming models of unconscious 
complexes, showed a number of extremely interesting symptoms, 
which were much more comprehensible to us than to the person 
under test. Having created the artificially affective traces, we 
were able to verify their symptomatology in pure form and their 
appearance in the state of sleep and in the state of awakening; 
discontinuing at our will the suggestion or making it deeper, 
we were in a position to follow up the special dynamics of the 
affective traces; and when we evoked analogies of the natural 
affective states formerly recorded by us, we could better under- 
stand the data, of which we were previously only passive ob- 


We have a good number of tests, the majority of which were 
made by us in 1924-1925. They all were subjected to the follow- 
ing standard operation: the person under test was put to sleep, 
and a traumatic situation previously prepared was suggested to 
him. After the suggestion was made, an amnesia was suggested 
to the person (in control cases the amnesia was not suggested 
and we observed a natural post-hypnotic amnesia) and he was 
awakened. Before the hypnosis, we used a number of word- 
stimuli a part of them having a direct bearing on the complex 
which later was suggested to him ; and we obtained the usual 
series of associated answers with connected motor reactions. 
Simultaneously we recorded a free number of chain associations, 
which were connected with the respective motor pressures. That 
operation was repeated a second time after the suggestion was 
made to the person in his post-hypnotic state; after this the 
subject was again put to sleep and the suggestion made was 
countermanded. After his second awakening, he was tested again 
in the same way. The whole experiment, therefore, proceeded 
thus: Test No. i, hypnotic suggestion, Test No. 2, countermand- 
ing the hypnotic suggestion, Test No. 3 (see above). 

The first test gave a general background to the psyche of the 
person in a state practically normal for him; the second test 
was a critical examination of the changes which were found in the 
psyche after the insertion of an artificial affective complex; 
the third test was to give material which would be characteristic 
of the reestablishment of a certain status after the time that 
the affective complex was "drawn away" out of his psyche. The 
whole series l was to make it possible to follow up in detail the 
complete dynamics of the affective processes. 


THE suggestions that were given by us in a hypnotic state were 
usually received with active objections, and we clearly saw that 
we were inflicting a certain temporary psychological trauma in 
the person under test, inciting in him a very sharp affective state. 

1 We wish to remember here with gratitude the names of the friends who 
helped us in those very difficult tests Dr. G. Z. lolles, Paris, and Dr. R. V. 
Valenitch, Moscow, and V. I. Zabrejnev, Leningrad, who were my patient 
collaborators during two years, and I owe to their fine and able technique 
the results obtained. One of my nearest collaborators, Mr. B. E. Varshav, did 
not live to see the end of my work, and to his memory and his faithfulness 
to science and to his deep interest in the problems of the human being must 
be dedicated many pages of this book. 


The affectiveness of the reaction to the suggestion made was 
evident from the simple observation of how the personality met 
the affective situation suggested to him : restless defensive move- 
ments, trembling during sleep and unwillingness to take at once 
the suggestion, the acute conflict which follows and great sensi- 
tiveness to the situation which was inserted into his psyche, and, 
finally, often tears. This is the picture of that psychological 
operation which certainly every psychologist has observed, when 
using hypnotism as a method of research. 1 

Here is a typical example from the statement of such a sug- 
gestion : 

The person under test, K., a student of obstetrics, 23 years old, is 
in a fairly deep hypnotic sleep, and it is suggested to her that a woman 
comes to see her with the request to produce in her an abortion, which 
K. has no right to do. The suggestion meets in her an obstacle. The 
doctor: "You are sitting at home and there is a woman who comes to 
see you and is imploring you to perform an abortion on her and that 
nobody should know that. She offers you 7 tchervontsi ($35.00). You 
hesitate because this is prohibited, but later you agree." The person under 
test (interrupting): "I will not do it." The doctor: "But I suggest to 
you that you should agree." K.: "I tell you I will not." The doctor: 
"The woman is imploring. She has no other way out and you are 
agreeing." K. : "No." The doctor: "You have agreed and the woman 
has gone away." 

The person under test easily feels the suggestion; her face 
changes, she trembles, makes restless movements on the couch 
and she is ready to cry. 

Further, the situation of the operation is suggested to the 
person under test. She feels it very painfully. 

After the suggestion of the affective situation, the subject is 
awakened; to the question of how she feels she answers that 
she feels very bad, that something very disagreeable has hap- 
pened, but she does not know what. 

When asked to remember the cause of her disagreeable feeling 
she answers that she cannot remember anything, but a heavy 
sensation remains. From the past test, she only remembers that 
the doctor counted to six (the beginning of the hypnosis) and 
held up his fingers (which actually occurred in the first phase 
of her sleep) ; the rest is entirely beyond her consciousness. 

1 The acute character of the test required certain precautions. We excluded 
beforehand all hysterical persons. The test was prepared by a series of sittings. 
At every seance there were present three persons, and a physician followed 
the course of the experiment. 


Two points are here of unquestionable interest. First a very 
marked submission to the suggestion. Second the entire elimina- 
tion from the consciousness of what occurred. In fact, the sug- 
gestion is taken here not at all as something alien and .not 
concerning the personality or being outside of it. The personality 
reacts very sharply to the suggestion given; it comes into an 
active conflict with the situation suggested, and that conflict 
creates a sharp and acute affective reaction. It is by the nature 
of this reaction and the participation in it of the entire per- 
sonality that the situation thus obtained is entirely different 
from the commonly known experiments with "evoked emotions" 
by giving agreeable and disagreeable stimuli, which were used 
in the school of Wundt. The emotion actually begins where the 
action or the active appearance of the personality tested starts. 
Suggesting a conflict connected with some action, we obtained 
an affective reaction. This is one of the fundamental ideas of 
this book, and we will deal with it later in special experiments. 

The situation suggested by us becomes distinctly affective. 
Therefore, it is even more interesting that the person under test 
entirely forgets the suggestion after awakening, and that only a 
few signs, like a heavy feeling, a general anxiousness, etc., remain 
as symptoms of the fact that in the subject's past there is con- 
cealed some severe trauma. 

We have before us an entirely new structure of the affective 
process, compared to those previously analysed. A strong emotion 
is hidden here in the past and is concealed not only from the 
experimenter, but also from the personality itself; it is removed 
from consciousness, though apparently it is still active. It is quite 
natural that in this connection we should expect symptoms en- 
tirely different from those which we observed in cases of the 
marked and evident emotions. 

We took three "samples" which were characteristic for the 
state of the person under test in his normal post-hypnotic condi- 
tion, and finally after the suggested trauma was countermanded. 
We performed upon him an associative experiment, recording 
the motor reactions which followed, and as well a part of his 
free behaviour during a certain period of time by asking him 
to say everything that came into his head, and we also recorded 
the neurodynamic correlations of that process. All this gives us 
good reason to believe that we find in our records a sufficiently 
clear cycle of symptoms to reflect the general state of the 


Our material gives us quite extraordinary data, markedly dif- 
fering from what we have observed before. In Table 20, we give 
a short summary of the figures superficially characteristic of our 
material. That summary gives us but little possibility to talk 
about the changes which were evoked during the course of the 
organised processes within our subject by the suggestion inserted 
into his psyche. We note here a certain retarding of the associa- 
tive processes, and an increase of the variations of the reaction 
time after the suggestion was made. This is not a direct influence 
of the hypnotic sleep, because in the third test after the second 
hypnotic sleep the associative processes follow faster and with 
more stability than in the beginning. 1 It is quite obvious that 
the changes that have occurred in the subject during his first 
hypnosis showed certain difficulties in his associative activity, 
due to its disorganisation and to the fact that the reactions lost 
their stability. However, this data cannot be considered suffi- 
ciently clear and equal in all cases. In five cases out of ten, in 
which the figures were summarised, they do not give any distinct 
deviations, and from the first appearance the activity of the 
subject tested may appear as not having been subject to any 
marked changes. 

The accompanying motor reactions show considerably more 
alarming signals. While usually a number of motor disturbances 
in the normal associative series amount to zero, which explains 
the quiet and sufficiently organised behaviour of the subject 
under test, we observe that after the affective complex has been 
introduced into the psyche, the reactions became considerably 
less quiet, from 30 to 40% of them, in several cases, being fol- 
lowed by conspicuous motor disturbances. However, this also 
appears to be not equally constant with all persons under test, 
and a number of our hypnotists have produced sufficiently or- 
ganised reactions also after the affective complex was introduced 
into the psyche. 

We obtain a picture, which at first is not sufficiently clear, 
although it shows certain consequences of the subject's first hyp- 
notic seance. Apparently the summary statistical survey does not 
seem to be sufficient here, and the process cannot be expressed 
in terms of general and scattered changes, which were so clearly 
observed in subjects passing through the phases of acute affect. 

1 The latter is due to some excitation, which naturally appears after the 
series were repeated three times and which definitely prevails over the inhi- 
bitory process still remaining after the hypnotic sleep. 



motor reactions o 
thout coordination 


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However, our impression sharply changes when we try to replace 
our summarised description by a differential analysis; if we 
consider what characterises the subject's reactions to the stimuli 
differing as to their contents, we observe that the second post- 
hypnotic experiment is distinctly different from the first one, 
and that with the help of our method we succeed in producing 
models of complexes, which almost entirely reconstruct all the 
symptoms characteristic for the natural affective traces in the 
personality. What is the more interesting is the amazing lawful- 
ness which we observe in the appearance of these traces, the 
subject's complete unawareness of them, and the astonishment 
which he shows when meeting unexpected symptoms of difficul- 
ties and disturbances in cases "critical" for him. 

We prepared a list of word-stimuli which we showed to our 
subjects under test, that list was made up so that, along with 
words indifferent to him, we inserted word-stimuli which were 
immediately connected with the traumatic situation suggested 
to him. The unequal character of the reactions to those stimuli 
constituted the symptoms which differentiated the first from the 
following. In the first test, all stimuli appeared to be more or 
less neutral for the experimental subject; in the second, there 
was a distinct difference. Part of them remained entirely neutral, 
another part connected with the suggested complex invariably 
began to show considerable symptoms of destruction. This hap- 
pened constantly, and even crude statistical data showed defi- 
nitely a concentrated group of severe reactions. In Table 21 we 
have a summary of the data characteristic of the average reac- 
tion time during the answers to the word-stimuli connected with 
the suggested trauma, as well as to the neutral ones. 

Table 22 gives a summary of the motor symptoms in the same 
cases. 1 

An examination of these tables proves that we have before us 
artificially obtained symptoms entirely similar to those which we 
observed in cases of natural affective traces. The difference lies 
only in this : three varying situations, which are usually observed 
in different subjects, are here shown in three tests with the same 
subject. The first test deals with a man who is in a state of 
emotional balance, whose behaviour is entirely organised; the 
second, a personality with a marked apparent central affect (simi- 
lar to the one we have observed with criminals or with hysterical 

1 Table 22 gives only six cases out of ten. In four cases certain errors in 
the apparatus prevented a statistical survey of the symptoms. 




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people) ; the third one shows again a picture of a more or less 
quiet state with but few traces of the past experiences or of 
the reactive (sometimes completely eliminated) affect. 

In fact, the first test shows that there is no conspicuous differ- 
ence in the different groups of reactions, and the relations which 
are characteristic for one of the groups do not exceed the limit 
of the average probable error. The motor area is fairly stable in 
all cases, and the reaction time is rather uniform. The second 
test verifying the psyche of the experimental subject, after the 
hypnotic complex has been inserted into it, produces an entirely 
different picture ; the general background of the reaction remains 
somewhat quiet, but it brings out a distinctly serious complex. 
As distinguished from the cases which we showed above the 
complex of disturbances remains a strictly concentrated focus, 
and does not create any acute, frank affect ; the reactions to the 
indifferent stimuli remain unchanged. (They occur just as rapidly 
and without any marked increase of motor disturbances.) On 
the other hand, the reactions of the stimuli connected with the 
situation produced by suggestion are given with distinct retarda- 
tion and with equally distinct motor disturbances. We obtained 
here artificially constructed complexes of considerable stability 
and concentration. All these facts disappear again in the third 
test, when, by a second hypnotic sleep and countermanding the 
suggestion, we bring about an artificial elimination of the com- 
plex introduced into the psyche. The control experiments con- 
vinced us that the symptoms obtained are actual products of 
the suggestion and that we have created, in fact, under laboratory 
conditions a certain model of experimental complex with removed 
or partly removed trauma and conflicts. We have a number of 
tests where the associative experiment was brought in after the 
hypnotic sleep, which was not followed by a traumatic sugges- 
tion. We also have many tests where our suggestion was not 
accepted by the subject under test. In all those cases, the control 
test shows that the personality of the subject is not actually 
influenced by any important traumata, and the associative experi- 
ment does not give us any characteristic symptoms of the con- 
cealed affect. 

Obviously the hypnotic suggestion can provoke an artificially 
created affective complex, but for this we must have definite 

We shall first describe the peculiarities of such an artificially 
constructed complex, and then by means of a comparative analy- 


sis try to ascertain the conditions which must be present during 
its elaboration. The hypnotic method, allowing us to vary the 
conditions of provoking such traces, is especially adapted to our 
purpose here. 

We shall select, therefore, two tests, typical for cases in which 
the suggested affective situation was accepted by the person under 
test, and in which we succeeded in obtaining an actual model 
of the artificial complex. We choose these two cases because they 
allow us to point out distinctly two directions in which the 
symptoms of affective traces are elaborated. 


The following situation is suggested. (Index situation C.) "You are 
in great need of money. You go to a friend in order to borrow from 
him; he is not at home. You decide to wait in his room and suddenly 
notice on his bureau a fat wallet with money. You open it and find 
many five ruble notes. You make a decision; you quickly take the 
wallet and conceal it on your person. You cautiously go outside and look 
around to see if you are detected. You have stolen money and now 
you are afraid that there will be a search in your home and that they 
will discover you." 

In this case, we have reconstructed through hypnosis a situa- 
tion similar to those, traces of which we have often observed in 
our tests with criminals. The suggestion was accepted by our 
subject fairly well, and after it was it was possible to study the 
affective complex artificially inserted into our subject in whom 
it remained unconscious. 

We performed three tests with the subject before the sug- 
gestion, after it, and when the suggestion had been counter- 
manded. In all the cases, twenty-eight word-stimuli were 
presented, of which eleven were connected with the situation of 
the suggested complex. 

Quite naturally in the test all stimuli were at first equally 
indifferent, and evoked equally rapid reactions. The basic con- 
dition may be characterised by an entirely normal reactive back- 
ground, by equal and adequate associative answers and by the 
absence of any motor disturbances. (See Figure 36A.) 


6. MONEY 1.2" GOLD 
8. PAPER 1.6" MONEY 

7. SNOW 1.8" RAIN 









26. CORRIDOR 1.8" TO GO 



8. PAPER 1.2" TO TAKE 

7. SNOW 1.2" RAIN 


The picture, however, entirely changes after the suggestion is 
given. The subject wakes up from his hypnotic sleep and declares 
that he does not feel very well, but he does not at all realize 
the reason for the change of his condition. 

We again experiment with him and obtain data, samples of 
which follow: 

It goes without saying that these data are distinctly different 
from those we received in our first test. Both there and here the 
subject is not conscious of any definite affective complex. His 
association in the second test follows just as quietly and normally 
in the beginning as in the first test, until the first critical stimulus, 
which immediately shows a distinct retardation, and a reaction, 
markedly changed and slowed down. 

It is the same in all the other cases, and every time the subject 
responds to the words connected with the complex with distinct 
retardation and shows a curve of pressure reaching almost to the 
limit. (Figure 36.) It is remarkable that the subject gives these 
symptoms without any suspicion of the complex suggested and 
only by the end of the experiment begins vaguely to remember 
the "dream" suggested to him. (Figure 36.) Such unconsciousness 
of the affective traces is what produces the specific nature of the 
symptoms under observation. As distinguished from what we 
have seen in cases of an acute active affect, the affective traces 
have here a marked concentrated character and are given only 
in response to the critical stimuli presented to the subject. When 
removed from consciousness, the affect begins to be considerably 
cut off from the motor area, and shows up only when some 
corresponding stimulus is powerful enough to make it active. 

We always obtained such a concentrated character of affective 
symptoms, when we succeeded in introducing hypnotically into 



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the subject certain affective traces. Sometimes these traces come 
out more distinctly, and instead of obtaining a general retarda- 
tion, we obtained centers of strong excitement, in cases when 
the presented stimulus made the suggested affective trace active. 
However, the concentrated nature of the affective symptoms 
remained also here unchanged. 

We will now quote the second case, which duplicates that 
picture with some variations: 


The following situation is suggested (Situation B) : "You are sitting 
in your room and are studying. A child of your neighbour's, a boy of 
about six, comes into your room. He shouts and disturbs your studies. 
You ask him to stop; he does not listen to you. . . .You get angry, and 
forgetting yourself, take a stick and beat the boy, first on his back and 
then on his head. There are some wounds on his head and he cries. 
You feel very much ashamed and you do not understand how such 
a thing could have happened to you, how you could beat up a child, 
and you try to forget it." 

As distinguished from the first suggestion quoted above, this 
one is of an acute conflicting nature. We suggested the situation 
with a definite purpose; it is entirely unacceptable for the moral 
standing of the personality, we make it still more complicated 
by suggesting repentance, the desire to forget and remove the 
occucrence. The protocols show that the suggestion was actually 
taken with sufficient intensity. Following is a part of the protocol 
of the first hypnotic trance of the subject. 

The situation is suggested to the subject. She reacts very vividly to 
the suggestion, shown by her facial expression. The suggestion is followed 
by these questions: 

Experimenter: Why did you beat him? 
Subject: He was bothering me. 
Experimenter: Is it right to beat a child? 
Subject: But if he annoys me. 

At once it is seen that we succeeded in suggesting to the subject a 
certain situation. However, that situation did not appear to be conflicting. 
The detailed question which followed later during the second hypnotic 
sleep shows the whole picture, and makes it evident that the suggestion 
was accepted in a sufficient affective situation. Here is that question: 
Experimenter: What did you see in your dream? Something dis- 

Subject : Me ... no. 


Experimenter: Try to remember what you saw. 

Subject : I was sitting ... at the table, was working on psy- 
chology . . . 

Experimenter: What happened afterwards? You will remember 
that it will not provoke in you any disagreeable feelings. 

Subject: To our neighbours' came Marussa with her child. 
When they went to sleep he made some noise and was crying. 

Experimenter: And then what? 

Subject : I was sitting ... I cannot possibly study when there 
is noise ... I went to him and asked him not to make any noise . . . 
then I pulled his ears. First he laughed, then he cried . . . my con- 
science began to torture me. 

Experimenter: But you did not beat him? 

Subject: No, I never beat children. 

Experimenter: And you did not beat him with a stick? 

Subject: Yes, I beat him, but not with a stick, and then my 
conscience tortured me. 

The protocols give a convincing picture that our suggestion 
created in the subject a considerable conflict. The very difficulty 
with which the given suggestion is reconstructed, even in the 
second sleep, shows that it was connected with some shifting of 
considerable force. The refusal to remember that she has beaten 
the child and the gradually concealing reminiscence, first that 
she has "pulled his ears," then that she has "beaten him but 
not with a stick"; all this shows how much the situation sug- 
gested was unacceptable to the personality. The statement re- 
peated twice, that "my conscience has tortured me," shows its 
considerable affectiveness. We have evidence that we introduced 
into the psyche of the subject a situation which provoked in her 
an acute affective state. That state, however, appears to be sepa- 
rated from the consciousness of the subject, and after the awak- 
ening we obtained the answers to what happened during the 
hypnotic sleep: "It seems to me that during my sleep, I went 
to the next room, but what for, I do not know." "Did you dream 
of something?" Answer: "Nothing." 

The subject has, as usual, after the sleep a slightly heavy 
feeling, but does not remember any disagreeable happenings. 

The same way as in the test shown above, the reactions of the 
subject after the hypnotic sleep are in the beginning undisturbed, 
almost as usual. 

There are hardly any symptoms differentiating the three tests, 
which were taken in three entirely different psychological situa- 
tions. There is an abrupt change, however, when the first stimulus 
is introduced, which is connected with the affective situation 
suggested : 

i 4 6 


First Test 

Second Test 

Third Test 


Time in 


Time in 


Time in 


i Work 







2 Curtain 







3 Balcony 







4 Forest 






5 Couch 







6 Sail 







7 Foot 






The stimuli connected with the situation suggested in the first 
test usually show a normal picture (with the exception of two 
or three cases where we apparently met with natural complexes). 
On the other hand, in the second test, all the critical stimuli 


rst Test 






Time in 


Time in 


Time in 


8 Boy 





g Back 







10 Night 





ii Leaves 





12 Dress 





13 Angry 


I do not know 

what for 


At a dog 


At a dog 

14 Rose 





15 Window 







1 6 To beat 


A girl 


A dog 


A dog 

17 Book 





1 8 Stick 





19 Hair 





20 Hit 


A dog 


A cat 


A cat 

21 Freedom 


I don't know 







22 Repair 


Of a building 




23 Wound 


Of the face 



24 Tears 





i.6" f 

25 Laugh 







showed distinct retarding of the answer and equally distinct 
motor disturbances. The subject tested shows symptoms of a 


complex about which she herself cannot say anything, but which 
are well known to us. 

1 8. STICK 1.4" BLACK 

IQ. HAIR 1.6" 

20. TO HIT 2.4" DOG 

3. BALCONY 1.6" BIG 
7. FOOT 1.2" SMALL 

20. TO HIT 9.6" CAT 

These symptoms follow with great regularity and form typical 
disturbances for the affect. In Figure 37 we show examples of the 
graphs which characterise accurately the neurodynamics of our 
subject. In the first, as well as in the second test, the general 
background of the reactive processes remains stable. On that 
background are distinctly shown the different reactions connected 
with the suggested situation. In the same figure are curves 
describing the neurodynamics of these reactions. It can be clearly 
seen that the stimulus provokes a noticeable excitement, ex- 
pressed in reaction No. 20 in a peculiar motor storm, filling the 
whole latent period and becoming manifest in the tremor of the 
left hand. 

Of considerable interest is the nature of the breathing in these cases: 
The critical stimulus when presented provokes here a noticeable retarda- 
tion of the expiration, showing a change in the ratio of inspiratory to 
expiratory duration, the symptomatology of which, for some emotional 
situations, was described in detail by Benussi and by a number of other 

The examples cited above show a picture of symptoms so 
marked that if even the contents of the affect are unknown 
we could successfully point out the elements of the affective 
situation, basing our conclusion on the objective analysis of the 
symptoms. In the experiment we are again convinced that we 
have artificially reconstructed the structure of those psychologi- 
cal processes which usually can be observed in people passing 
through an acute traumatic situation, in hysterical people, 
and finally in normal subjects whose affective traces we have 
analysed. 1 

1 This book does not include the special work dealing with the objective 
study of neurodynamics of normal and pathological complexes. 

ao K 


The suggested complex appears to be stable to the extent that 
its symptoms remain even in the third test in spite of the fact 
that the suggestion was countermanded. Some of the reactions 
quoted above show this. (See reactions Nos. 13, 16, 18, and 19), 
and we may confidently state that the process started by us 
appears to be much deeper than a short suggestion, and that we 
have before us a natural reaction of the personality, and one 
which has cut rather deeply into that personality. 


THE two cases quoted above have one important characteristic: 
the affective symptoms have here a distinctly localised char- 
acter. They appear only when the corresponding stimulus pro- 
vokes them, leaving the general background of the reaction almost 
entirely unchanged. 

We obtain a picture very different from the one of a scat- 
tered affect, and similar to what we have observed in cases when 
time, smoothing out the acuteness of the affect, had transformed 
its scattered character into concentrated traces, which only 
showed in single critical instances. (See Chapter III.) 

However, in our case we have an entirely different structure 
of the process. The lack of the scattered disturbances is due 
here to quite other factors. We believe that the concentrated 
nature of the traces, not passing into the irradiated disturbance 
of the behaviour, is a result in this instance of the disconnection 
of the affective complex from consciousness, which we frequently 
noted before. The disruption from the consciousness is connected 
here with separation from the motor area, and this is actually, 
in our opinion, the important neurodynamic mechanism of 

We encountered an affect every time when some beginning 
activity was retarded and the potentially powerful activity of 
the organism was inhibited. This we have pointed out in the 
preceding pages. The affect begins when something happens to 
the human activity. There are two ways of checking it either 
by giving an outlet to the tension which accumulated as a result 
of the retardation, or by removing it from the motor area. We 
have seen how the first way appears in the act of admission. 
We must be ready to meet the second one in the post-hypnotic 
act of forgetting the complex. 

We come here to a question which is of vast importance in psychology, 
as well as in the pathology of psychological situations. The amnesia 


which we artificially created in our case, insulating the traumatic pic- 
ture from consciousness, actually provokes a process quite similar to 
the process of shifting. The authors who described the latter (begin- 
ning with Freud) have often pointed out that the active side of the 
insulation from the consciousness must be viewed as insulation from the 
motor area. That insulation must mean, that after having lost its im- 
mediate connection with the motor area, the traumatic and conflicting 
group of affective traces ceases to have the possibility of influencing 
the behaviour in a definite way. The connection of the consciousness 
with the motor area is itself one of the most interesting problems of 
psychology. A number of American authors (M. F. Washburn and others) 
have given it their serious attention. In future tests, the relation will 
be clearly shown: Removal from the consciousness insulation from the 
motor area, consciousness spread into the motor area. 

If the mechanism of the post-hypnotic "removal" of the affect 
is nothing but its separation from the motor area, it is quite clear 
that, being insulated from it, that affect does not influence it in 
any noticeable way. On the contrary, every time it appears in 
consciousness, noticeable disturbances of activity and a distinct 
affective tone ensue. 

Our tests make it possible to observe what neurodynamic 
factors are being evoked by the consciousness of the suggested 
affect. For this, the associative experiments, used here, seem spe- 
cially well adapted. Each stimulus connected with the situation 
suggested provokes distinct disturbances in the reactive process. 
With this, however, each such stimulus is another step toward 
the breaking up of the barrier which separates the affect, already 
introduced into the psyche, from the consciousness. 

By means of hypnotic suggestion, we have constructed a model 
of an affective complex, disconnected from the motor area and 
from consciousness. By using a prolonged associative experiment 
we may also build a model of the very process of its becoming 
conscious. That process is the more important to us, as it then 
makes it possible to trace the neurodynamic mechanisms con- 
nected with that consciousness. 

In the cases quoted above, we already have some elements 
of such consciousness of the situation suggested, under the influ- 
ence of the "critical" word-stimuli. We may, however, construct 
a much fuller picture of such "experimental psychoanalysis," if 
we adopt prolonged and more adequate observations. 

The process of the shifted complex becoming conscious during 
the experiment is so interesting that we shall dwell on it in 
more detail. 

We take here the test to which we have briefly referred: 

Test No. 3: Subject Kar., 20 years old, student of obstetrics. The fol- 


lowing situation is suggested: (Situation D). "You have been graduated 
in obstetrics and started to work in a maternity hospital. You are at 
home and a woman comes to see you and asks you to produce in her 
an abortion so that nobody should know it. She offers you money for 
this. You hesitate, because this is against the law. The woman implores 
you with tears in her eyes. You feel sorry for her and you agree. You 
take your instruments, put them in a suitcase, and proceed to the sick 
bed. You ascend a narrow staircase, ring a bell, and an old woman opens 
the door. You are very excited and start the operation. But immediately 
a hemorrhage begins and you cannot stop it. You see a pool of blood 
on the floor. The sick woman is very weak, you have made an error 
in your operation and you fear for her life " 

The situation, suggested by us, is accepted by the subject very 
actively, and it undoubtedly creates an acute affective reaction. 
This is already shown in the extract from the statement which 
we quoted in the beginning of this chapter. However, in spite 
of the affective nature of the situation suggested, it appears to 
be entirely disconnected from consciousness, and after awak- 
ening, our subject refuses to remember anything of what hap- 
pened to her during the hypnotic sleep. We might say that we 
have constructed here an "experimental unconsciousness," and 
further tests convince us that this unconscious affective complex 
remains very active and becomes an actual and entirely conscious 
affect, after certain means are employed. The object of our test 
is to trace the neurodynamic correlations of that gradual con- 
sciousness, and in this way clear up the problem of the psycho- 
physiology of the conscious and inhibited affect. 

We shall use here a method, which should help us to evoke 
the affective traces introduced by us into the psyche and simul- 
taneously to record the whole dynamics of their gradual realisa- 
tion. After having constructed an "experimental unconsciousness," 
we would naturally employ, as a method, "experimental psycho- 
analysis." The free chain associations were the best means for 
our purpose. Being determined not only by the logical, but also 
by the affective data of the personality, they showed beyond 
doubt the inhibited affective complexes. The acute character of 
the suggested affective complex, assured us that even a small 
number of free associations would bring it out. Finally, the fact 
that the procedure was followed by a recording of the whole 
system of expressive symptoms made it possible not to deviate 
here from our method of psychophysiology. 

In one important respect the method of our chain associations was 
distinctly different from the method of psychoanalytical research. It was 
entirely included within the limits of psychophysiological experiment, and 
herein lie its strong and weak points. The complex, the appearance of 


which we have studied, was known to us beforehand, and this is what 
made it possible for us to avoid complicated methods and interpreta- 
tions. We had no ground to believe that our suggestion would be subject 
to some specially deep symbolic modification, and we expected that it 
would directly appear already in the first or in the second associative 
series. Noting all associations that "freely came to the mind," the in- 
tervals between them and their connected symptoms, we were able to 
obtain accurately fixed associative series, 1 and to study in detail their 

It is quite natural that the experimental, or we would rather say 
"model," character of our tests limited our possibilities, and entirely 
excluded extensive research on the problems of the unconscious and of 
its dynamics. This was not, however, the object of our psychophysiological 

The free associative series were recorded from our subject under 
test before the suggestion, as well as after it. As it is possible 
to compare the symptoms we obtained during our tests of single 
speech reactions, with photographic snapshots of one section 
of the psyche, analogously tests with chain associations can be 
best compared with cinematography. We see before us a number 
of associations, which, more or less, characterise the state of the 
psyche within a given period of time, and which afford us a 
possibility of observing the gradual appearance of the affective 

Figure 38 shows sample graphs from our protocols, character- 
ising the state of the neurodynamic processes of the subject 
under test before the suggestion. The calm motor activity and 
the equal intervals clearly show the organised character of the 
subject's behaviour. The summary of reactions given in a chain 
series brings out the same thing. 

i night 2 door 3 quarrel 4 room 

5 wall 6 picture 7 8 

9 grass 10 river n forest 12 mountain 

13 balcony 14 garden 15 flowers 16 lilacs 

17 rose 18 nightingale 19 road 20 ? 

21 pool 22 night 23 stars 24 couch 

25 courses 26 automobile 27 table 28 books 

29 notebook 30 pen 31 piano 32 notes 

33 stove 34 bed 35 knife 36 fork 

37 napkin 38 cow 39 horse 40 cat 

41 lamp 42 shade 43 cupboard 

All these data give the usual picture of how the normal asso- 
ciative process occurs, with equally spaced appearance in the 

x The problem of the structure of the chain series was specially developed 
by our collaborator, A. N. Leontiev. See his article, The Structural Analysis 
of Chain Associative Series, Russo-German Medical Journal, 1927. 


series (4-6, 9-23, 27-37). The study of the intervals between the 
single reactions has shown here a well organised motor area 
which reflected a picture of normal neurodynamics. 

We put the subject into a hypnotic sleep, and introduce into 
her psyche the affective complex mentioned above. After awak- 
ening we again record a similar series of chain associations. We 
obtained an associative series which are summarised in the fol- 
lowing statement: 

i day 

2 hammer 

3 tapping 

4 reflects 

5 muscle 

6 nose 

7 glasses 

8 hair 

9 eyes 

10 hands 

ii ring 

12 lamp 

13 see 

14 day 

15 shores 

1 6 wave 

17 boat 

1 8 river 

19 song 

20 flowers 

21 bridge 

22 train 

23 road 

24 forest 

25 village 

26 row 

27 mud 

28 moon 

29 month 

30 to tap 

31 knee 

32 shoe 

33 flowers 

34 daisies 

35 automobile 

36 book 

37 revolver 

38 table 

39 shelf 

40 box 

41 suitcase 

42 platform 

43 depot 

44 armchair 

45 rocking chair 

46 couch 

47 floor 



Up to now the series quoted above are in no way conspicuous ; 
the contents and the character of the intervals do not make it in 
any way different from the series we recorded in the subject's 
normal state, which were just shown. The graphic records of the 
accompanying motor reactions which are depicted in Figure 3Q-A 
reveals also here a rather normal picture not similar to the one 
showing the neurodynamics destroyed by an affect. 


57 $f 81 




All this forces us into the following preliminary conclusions, 
which, after our observations, seem unquestionable: The insula- 
tion of affective traces from the consciousness simultaneously pro- 
duces the insulation from the motor area, transforming the active 
affect into one which is concealed or potential. 

The part of the test shown above does not reveal any symptoms 


of a concealed affect. However, the appearance of irregular inter- 
vals at the end of the chain series, and the presence of some 
single marked inhibitions is of special interest to us and makes 
us suppose that some destructive factor has intervened. The 
protocols disclosed to us this factor : at the end of the associative 
series there begins to appear persistently the affective complex 
inserted into the psyche. It provokes a number of associations, 
which are not yet understood by the subject himself, but which 
are entirely comprehensible to us who know the contents of the 

49 cushion 
53 wall 
57 doctor 
6 i wound 
65 inkstand 
69 clinic 
73 board 

50 to bathe 
54 picture 
58 nurse 
62 bandage 
66 inkstand 
70 road 
74 pool 

51 somersault 
55 bath 
59 medicine 
63 forceps 
67 pharmacy 
71 street 
75 day 

52 to fight 
56 sick woman 
60 ether 
64 scalpel 
68 body 
72 automobile 

The subject reconstructs quite unintentionally the situation 
of the operation, in the chain series, not knowing why that situa- 
tion has come to her mind, and not being able to explain its 
contents. However, that not quite conscious reconstruction of a 
section of the affective situation is followed by a noticeable dis- 
turbance of the neurodynamics. Figure 398 is a graph from the 
record, showing a picture of the connected motor reactions during 
the appearance of the part which reconstructed the suggested 
affective situation. That extract convincingly shows that im- 
portant symptoms of neurodynamic changes are connected with 
reconstruction of parts of the complexes in speech series. Even 
a few reactions before the situation appears in the associations 
the motor control of the right hand shows noticeable symptoms 
of disorganisation, which gradually increase. About the middle 
of the given group ("the sick woman, the doctor, nurse, medi- 
cine") the excitement is switched over to the left hand showing 
sharp and disorderly movements. Finally, when the central ele- 
ment of the complex situation openly appears (wound, bandage), 
a distinct tremor of the right hand is evident which shows 
considerable disturbance in the neurodynamic mechanism. To 
all this is added a noticeable variation in the breathing (it 
becomes irregular, sometimes greatly retarded). All these symp- 
toms point to a considerable disturbance of the psychophysio- 
logical processes, accompanying the first appearance of the affect 
in speech. 


The later symptoms are more intense; there is an evident 
appearance of the affective situation in the consciousness of the 
subject followed by an acute motor storm, which for a tintie 
breaks up any normal reactive process. 

We are able to follow up that entire process in the next 
associative series, which we record immediately after the subject 
has completed the above-mentioned series of reactions. It con- 
tinues for five minutes and includes about ninety reactions; it 
ends with a total reconstruction of the complex suggested. 

After the first appearance of the suggested complex described 
above, we could certainly expect, that in the following series 
the complex would appear even more distinctly. After a recess 
of three minutes we again begin an associative series : 

i night 2 staircase 3 table 4 book 

5 day 6 rain 7 icicle 8 pool 

9 month 10 building n garden 12 river 

13 lake 14 boat 15 stars 16 sky 

17 board 18 platform 19 lecture 20 glass 

Now the structure of the chain series, which is characterised 
by its intervals is already not the same ; it is inserted with con- 

siderable retardations and is exceptionally unstable and disor- 
ganised. Figure 40 illustrates this. The structure appears to be 
quite different if compared with that of the intervals observed 
on the same subject before the suggestion (and which is shown 
on Curve 36). 

It is quite obvious that the affect has crept into those series 
more prominently. The following shows the whole picture and 



makes quite clear the structure of the series shown in the graph ; 
to every section of acute retardation there is a corresponding 
evident appearance in the series of the elements of the suggested 
affective situation. The following is the further development of 
the series: 

20 glass 

21 ? 

22 operation 

23 instruments 

24 woman 

25 street 

26 lamp 

27 curtain 

28 room 

29 cupboard 

30 carpet 

31 picture 

32 chrysan- 

33 Piano 

34 singing 

35 song 


36 girl friend 

37 father 

38 old woman 

39 mother 

40 sick woman 

41 nurse 

42 don't know 

43 forest 

44 river 

45 bridge 

46 road 

47 dress 

48 depot 

49 wife 

So ? 

51 inkstand 

52 table 

53 revolution 

54 book 

55 staircase 

56 blood 

57 warm 

58 many 

59 month 

60 gray 

6 1 grass 

62 lawn 

63 appletree * 

64 mushroom 

65 couch 

66 radio 

67 chest l 

68 wallet 1 

69 yellow 

70 woman 

71 7 remembered what I dreamt (the experimenter has told me to do 
something; go on further, say what comes to your mind). 

72 quickly 

73 leg 

74 hand 

75 nose 

76 face 

77 cheek 

78 eyes 

79 hair 

80 spectacles 

8 1 hammer 

82 reflects 

83 muscles 

84 to swear 

85 to fight 

86 to laugh 

87 to play 

88 to joke 

89 chair 

90 air 

91 see 

92 sky 

93 stars (5) 

The dynamics of the suggested complex become sufficiently 
clear to us; being disconnected with the conscious area, that 
complex, nevertheless, shows an insistent tendency to creep into 
the speech series; being removed every time, it shows, however, 
a considerable persistence, and after a certain period of time 
again flows into the free associative series. The affective complex 
constructed by us, though not yet being conscious, creates an 
affective state and determines the flow of the free associative 
series. Its appearance is followed every time by a considerable 

Figure 41 shows that the appearance of the traces of the com- 
plex in the speech area is invariably followed by an acute motor 
disorganisation. In section A that disorganisation is a natural 

1 These reactions are connected with situation C, which was suggested to 
the subject about a week before that test. 








reflection of the conflict, which is connected with the appear- 
ance in the associative series of the complex links (operation, 
instrument, woman). Section B demonstrates the neurodynamic 
equivalent of the removal of the affective part (sick nurse) and 
conclusively shows that the refusal to prolong the associations 
("I do not know what to say") conceals a considerable neuro- 
dynamic conflict. After all this, it becomes quite clear that the 
subject finally arrives at a moment, when the barrier, which 
separated the affective complex from the consciousness, breaks 
down, after which the affect appears in an acute and overt form. 

The removal of the insulation of the affect from the conscious- 
ness and its overt appearance is followed by an acute motor storm, 
by a model of an affective fit, which breaks down the normal 
course of the reactive process. 

Many things become clear to us after that moment, the graphic 
course of which is shown on Curve C of Figure 41. What we see 
here is at the same time a model of an affective fit, and the reac- 
tive process of the affective complex. Both these processes are 
psychologically extremely close to each other, and essentially 
show the same structure. The reaction is always connected with 
the breaking of the barrier which separates the affect from the 
motor area, and with the corresponding switching over of the 
innervation to the motor area. It seems that these factors enter 
into the mechanism of the consciousness of the retarded affective 
complex; the connection between the process of becoming con- 
scious and the reaction of the complexes removed, which is the 
basis of psychoanalytical therapy, becomes much clearer. In fact, 
the end of the series quoted above shows with sufficient clearness 
that after the basic complex has become conscious, the subject 
is able to pass into a considerably more stable chain of neutral 
reactions than he had before. A further investigation of the 
psyche of the subject would show that at the base of the affect 
we obtain a process very similar to confession, the psychological 
result of which we have observed before. 1 

On the other hand, the neurodynamic explosion, which appears 
after the affective complex has become conscious, gives a new 
aspect to the mechanical structure of the shifting. The insulation 
from the consciousness and the simultaneous insulation from the 
motor area seems to be the mechanism which saves the personality 
from the over-excitement and from the disorganisation connected 
with an open appearance of the conflict. In that respect the con- 

1 Chapter IV, paragraph 5. 


struction of a certain functional barrier between the affective 
centre and the motor area is of decisive importance for the con- 
servation in the personality of the possibility to act normally, 
without disorganising its behaviour by the affective traces, exist- 
ing in its past in considerable numbers. 

As yet we know but little about the mechanisms which bring 
about this process. Some physiological analogies allow us to sup- 
pose that at the basis of that process lies the "inhibition because 
of over-excitement/' which was described under the name of 
"parabiosis" in the Russian physiological school. 1 Other suppo- 
sitions make us think that at the basis of the conflict of the affect 
may also lie other purely psychological laws, which are con- 
nected with the use of some organised and cultural means, acting 
with the help of speech and a system of intermediate mechanisms. 
We will study this in the last part of our work, now leaving 
unanswered this very interesting psychological question. 

So much detail in the analysis of one case we have given only on 
the basis of the clinical method of expression. It seemed to us that the 
importance of the question deserved its detailed analysis, and that not 
a statistical summary, but a qualitative examination, should be the most 
adequate way to this. We could have given other of our experiments. 
In every one of them we recorded the corresponding series of free chain 
associations. In every one we obtained data reflecting the same struc- 
ture of the psychological processes. 

In all the cases we examined, we could convincingly describe the con- 
flicting character of the process, which appeared in the chain associative 
series. On the one hand, we invariably observed that peculiar persistency, 
that "pressure of the complex," which we noted above; on the other 
hand, we invariably saw attempts to retard the appearance of the com- 
plex, to remove it. Finally, the affective complex, not being conscious 
to the subject, creates a picture of a certain persisting feeling, and we 
have cases when one and the same group of reactions obstinately repeats 
itself, five or six times during a five-minute associative series. 

Especially interesting are the mechanics of removal of the developing 
complex, the tendency to go away from it, and to retard its appearance. 
The conflicting character of that process is evident already from the 
fact that the passing to a new chain of associations is always followed 
with considerable inhibition, 2 whereas its structure shows a characteristic, 
primitive, connecting link. Usually, the replacing series begins either by 
repeating some past link or by alliteration. 

Here is an example, with subject Zub., to which the situation C was 
suggested (stealing of money) : 

The first series shows clearly a complex. The subject does not realize 
it and relates almost the whole situation. 

1 See A. Ouchtomsky and others, The Theory of Parabiosis, Moscow, 1927. 

2 See Leontiev, quoted above. 


i window 2 evening 3 solitude 4 snow 

5 carpet 6 waiting 7 money 8 need 

9 fear 10 white n picture 12 go away 

13 take 14 open 15 approach 16 window 

17 bureau 18 chair 19 yellow 20 cornice 

21 porch 22 secret 23 inevitable 24 fear 

25 money 26 /Ae/ 30 robins 31 bureau 

33 couch 34 approach 35 dress 36 conceal, etc. 

The persisting character of that series is beyond any doubt. Interesting 
are the mechanisms, which are used by the subject to remove the per- 
sisting associations. This is well demonstrated in the following series: 

i wall 2 stain 3 laces 4 dress 

5 meanness 6 evening n napkin 12 coast 

13 birds 14 bureau 15 fireplace 20 to fear 

21 money 

22 laces (departure to previous link repeating of link No. 3) 
24 write 25 theft 26 doll (alliteration) 

31 eyes 32 brown 33 to fear 34 fear 

35 to be glad 36 evidence 37 street (allitera-44 fireplace 


45 wallet 46 money 47 porch 

48 laugh (departure to the previous links) 21, 42, etc. 

These examples hardly leave any doubt that the passing from the per- 
sisting, complex section of the chain to the neutral and replacing one 
is not a simple and quiet process but an acute conflicting act, which is 
reflected in the structure of the chain links. 


THE cases shown above demonstrate that a suggestion of an 
inacceptable affective situation provoked a rather deep reaction 
of the whole personality. This is evident from a number of facts, 
first of all from the active resistance, which our suggestion en- 
countered, from the acuteness with which our suggestion was felt, 
and finally from the difficulty of removing our suggestion later. 

The different reactions of the personality to the suggestion 
inserted into its psyche enable us to raise the question about the 
conditions in which an affective complex may appear, as well as 
of its separation from the related, but psychologically entirely 
different, idea of trauma. 

Our observations make it possible for us to state that an affec- 
tive complex may be created only in the case when the given 
suggestion (or the given excitement) was accepted by the subject, 
and, as such, came into a certain conflict with the usual features 
of the personality. An opposite case is when the suggestion, 
thotfgh severely traumatic, was not accepted, and it produces an 


entirely different picture of a trauma in its structure. The latter 
is distinctly different from the affective complex, in that the 
suggestion made remains alien to the personality, that it does 
not provoke in it any activity, nor, therefore, any specific con- 
flict. It acts only as an external trauma, provoking quite different 
neurodynamic symptoms. 

All cases which we have studied at present were of the char- 
acter of artificial complexes, just because of the activeness of the 
conflict which was evoked in the personality by the suggestion. 
As a result of this, we also obtained retardation of the critical 
answers, the motor disturbances, etc., the symptoms of which 
were described above. The impression was created that the per- 
sonality valued the suggestion made as its own deed, and felt 
it as such, sincerely passing through the conflict connected with it. 

However, there are often cases distinctly different from these 
as to their psychological structure ; often we do not obtain such a 
reaction of the personality to the suggestion made. The sugges- 
tion is not accepted by the subject, who feels its contents as an 
external trauma, and does not bring it into the system of his 
own behaviour, and does not react to it with a conflict, which 
is born inside of that behaviour. The psychological picture, which 
is obtained in these cases, is of considerable interest for the 
differentiation of the complex from the trauma. 

We shall discuss again a case where our test brought about only 
an external trauma because the suggestion was not accepted and 
the complex did not appear. 

Test No. 4: The subject, SHV, 20 years old. It is suggested 
that she has stolen money from her friend. (Situation C, text 

The vital difference of this test from the others which we 
investigated is that the subject refused to accept the suggestion. 
In spite of the sufficiently deep hypnotic sleep, she declared 
that she did not want to take the money; that if she needed 
any money she would ask for a loan. The subject felt only an 
attempt to suggest to her this situation, and did not take it as 
an actual occurrence in which she participated. 

The entire course of the test enabled us to evaluate that case 
as an unsuccessful and unaccepted suggestion which produced 
a trauma but did not create an affective complex. 

The data we obtained during the experiment convinced us that 
we have before us an entirely different psychological structure, 
not similar to the one which we observed before. The reactions 









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of the subject show a completely frank expression of the inflicted 
trauma, without any traces of an active conflict. 

Above are the records of the associative answers obtained 
from the subject before and after the suggestion. 

These series of answers are distinctly different from those which 
we observed in the cases quoted above. Here are entirely absent 
the acute inhibitions which we usually saw in other cases; the 
associative series follows after the suggestion just as quietly and 
correctly as before the suggestion. On the other hand, the con- 
tents of the associative answers appear to be particularly symp- 
tomatic ; the subject does not retard the answers connected with 
the situation suggestion, as happened in the other cases we ob- 
served, but quite openly reconstructs the elements of the situa- 
tion suggested (6. money take, 8. wallet lie, 9. bureau wallet, 
etc.). He does not show any tendency to conceal them, or to 
replace them by other neutral reactions. 

T u tr t i*- y. - fo tr * tr 7, 7r *> tr 9* 

f,p Ho 41 



An equally correct and quiet character is obtained in a chain 
associative series which does not differ from the one we recorded 
before the suggestion, in either its contents or the structure of 
the intervals. 

Figure 42 gives the structure of the intervals of both recorded 
series, and we clearly see that in spite of any differences in 
principle, the traces of disorganisation and retardation in the 
second series are here entirely absent. We purposely prolonged 
the series recorded after the suggestion up to eight mimrtes, and 
have, nevertheless, not obtained any signs of a disturbance, which 
we expected. 

We were ready to abandon our data and admit that our ex- 
periment was unsuccessful, had our attention not been drawn 
to a fact appearing in the important mechanics of that case. 
The externally equal associative series produced in certain points 
quite peculiar neurodynamic symptoms, which as a rule were 
not encountered in other cases. With the motor area remaining 


entirely normal we observed noticeable disturbances in the 
breathing, every time that the association reconstructed an ele- 
ment of the trauma. 

This appeared so constantly that at the end of the analysis 
we thought that it entirely excluded any possibility of chance. 
Every time when an element appeared connected with the trau- 
matic situation the breathing was first retarded, and then came 
a sharp impulsive sigh, from two to two-and-one-half times 
deeper than the usual respiration of the subject. 



4. SMOKE ? 

5. BOOK 2.o" TO COUNT 



PAPER - 1.6" 

21. DRESS 1.4 TO PUT ON 

22. TO PUT 1.6" TO TAKE 

23. GREY 1.8" CLOUD 




75. MONTH. 76. TO THINK. 77. BREAD. 78. DOG. 79. RADIO. 80. PHAR- 



In Figure 43, we show sections from our graphs. We regret 
that we cannot present here the whole record in which the points 
we mentioned show up as sharp centres on the background of a 
quiet and regular breathing. One thing is at any rate beyond 
doubt : the appearance of the sections connected with the trauma 
is followed not by the reactions of the hands, which remain 
entirely quiet during the whole experiment, but by vegetative 

The symptoms which we observed in that case are quite com- 
prehensible. In fact, we usually obtained motor disturbances in 
connected reactions for the reason that at the basis of the affect 
which created them there was invariably a conflict, interrupting 
the activity and retarding or even completely inhibiting the 
normal and organised processes. We have observed that conflict 
in situations of school examinations and, with especial clearness, 
in tests with criminals. In the latter case, at the basis of the 
affect was a trauma connected with the crime, which deeply 
touched the personality of our subjects, and which was made 
more complicated by a tendency to conceal the feelings con- 
nected with the crime. The same structure is characteristic of 
the artificial complexes we obtained, which always provoked 
a deep reaction of the personality; they later were covered 
with certain strata by which the personality responded to the 
act which it supposedly has committed, and finally they were 
subject to a marked shifting. 

The "unaccepted suggestion" has an entirely different char- 
acter; we have just pointed out its symptoms. The activity of 
the personality remains here untouched, the suggestion itself is a 
fact alien to the personality, perhaps injuring it but not pro- 
voking any hesitation or any conflict. We have before us simply 
a case of external violence to the psyche, which may have caused 
a trauma, but did not provoke any deep conflict or disturbance. 

The symptoms we obtained are a psychophysiological corre- 
lation of such a structure of the process, and give us fresh pos- 
sibilities for its neurodynamic analysis. We may suppose that 
if the disturbances in the behaviour, which are connected with 
the active affect and affective complex, find their place within 
the system of the active behaviour, directly connected with the 
motor field; that then the feeling of the trauma has an entirely 
different psychophysiological structure ; the reaction of the human 
system to it is featured by a greater participation of the vege- 
tative system which is more distant from the psychological 
activity of the personality. 


It is quite clear that this statement needs more careful study 
and cannot be made otherwise than as a hypothetical assertion. 
However, a number of experimental data, which we shall study 
later, as well as many psychological and also clinical facts con- 
vince us of the correctness of our statement concerning the 
neurodynamic differences between the complex and the trauma, 
and concerning their relative influence on the animal and vege- 
tative systems. 

Substantial confirmation of the differences between the psycho- 
physiological structures of the complex and the trauma are 
found in the different pictures of hysteria and traumatic 

At the basis of one of these diseases usually lies the mechanics 
of a conflict, of some definite structures, an attraction to one 
another or towards actual possibility ; at the basis of the other lies 
a traumatic situation. The very symptomatology of both shows 
that the disturbances which are observed in both cases occur 
in two entirely different systems. We shall not quote here from 
the discussion which a few years ago had shown quite different 
viewpoints on that subject, and which never was clearly or finally 
decided. We are inclined to believe that only an experimental 
study of the mechanics which lay at the basis of both neuroses, 
will make it possible to settle that problem and to outline dis- 
tinctly the limits between the two cases. Our studies have shown 
that acute disturbances in the motor area are characteristic of 
the neurodynamics of hysterical patients ; they appear every time 
when in the reaction of the subject there is reconstructed some 
part of the affective complex. These disturbances are of dis- 
tinctly conflicting character, similar to the type of the inhibiting 
impulses which we have studied above. Such motor disturbances 
are never observed with traumatic subjects. As a rule, the motor 
area appears to be very stable there. The stimuli connected with 
some affective situation do not produce any noticeable motor 
disturbances, though they may provoke some vegetable symp- 
toms. We had an opportunity to observe a number of traumatic 
subjects who have committed serious crimes and we have recorded 
their behaviour in experimental surroundings. We invariably ob- 
served with them a picture of acute reactions connected with 
the situation of the crime, their motor area at the same time 
remaining quite stable ; we were able to reconstruct that picture 
in our tests with "unaccepted suggestions." 

We have dwelt here in some detail on two questions we believe 
important for the understanding of the affective mechanics. 


Their study, with the help of constructing artificial complexes, 
has shown that the affective processes occur neurodynamically 
quite near to the motor area, that their insulation from the 
consciousness is at the same time connected with the insulation 
from the motor area, and with the passing of the affect into a 
latent state, from which state it can be evoked with the help 
of stimuli reconstructing the affective situation. We have ob- 
served that the barrier insulating the affective complexes is 
broken when the complex becomes active ; the motor storm 
which we have observed brings us back the picture of a dif- 
fused excitement, which we had occasion to see during the most 
acute affects. 

Finally, we have come to the conclusion that the most impor- 
tant phenomenon in the affective process is connected with the 
mechanics of the conflict, by which the affective experiences of 
the personality differ markedly from the action of the simple 
external traumata. 

We could show this only by reconstructing, within an experi- 
ment, the situations in which we were interested. It is quite 
obvious that we should follow that course in order to obtain 
further data on the mechanics of disorganisation and on the 
organisation of human behaviour. 



EVERY investigation proceeds in cycles, and the attempt 
to complete one cycle is at the same time an attempt to 
begin planning the problems of subsequent researches. 
This is the reason why we have the right to put this chapter 
about the general mechanics of the affective processes in the 
middle of the book ; it begins the analytical parts of the investiga- 
tion and also completes the synthetic parts. On the other hand, 
precisely this leads us to omit the usual long generalising portions 
of the investigations and to concentrate our attention only on 
the special details necessary for the continuation of the work in 

This we shall proceed to do, with the understanding that our 
rough generalisations are made with the purpose of defining the 
problems more exactly. 


WHEN we began analysing the neurodynamical basis of the 
affective processes by our application of the motor method we had 
many doubts in regard to the psychological facts. It appeared 
to us, "if the subject is really in a state of affect his hand 
trembles." Does this evident fact reveal material for investiga- 

We believe that this can be answered in the affirmative, and 
we decided that the establishment of the principle lying at the 
basis of this fact defends our position. In the subject in the state 
of affect the hand trembles this much is obvious. But in order to 
establish laws for some of the psychophysiological phenomena 



of the affective processes from this fact required not one but 
many years of investigation. 

The generalisation proceeding from the results we obtained 
may be justifiably commenced with some critical work, which 
indicates that the matter is by no means as simple as one might 
like it to be. The hands of the subject experiencing the affect do 
not always tremble, and in order to bring out this fact it is 
necessary to have very specific conditions. This was taken as our 
starting point, and we attempted to discover the laws which 
are manifested in the motor destruction of the neurodynamics 
of the affective processes. Experiments showed us that the motor 
disturbance does not always appear in the subject experiencing 
the affect, and that to include in parenthesis all the movements 
observed during the affect is unconditionally incorrect. 

The affective process itself is by no means equally related to 
all the stages of human activity, but it is connected with special 
functional zones and it itself requires analysis. 

Psychophysiologists studying affect were nearly always very 
much inclined to localise the affective processes in a special 
neurological system. Some suppose that the affect has its ex- 
istence in the sympathetic nerve chains and that it can be de- 
tected in the symptoms connected with the activity of this 
system. Hence the continued and complete attention which the 
psychologists gave to the study of the symptoms of respiration, 
pulse, psychogalvanic reaction, distention of the blood vessels, 
etc. Other authors tended to the view that in order to see the 
existing mechanism of the affect in the disturbance of the cortical 
processes it was well to devote more consideration to the 
phenomena of consciousness, the flow of association, etc. 

We have already mentioned that there are two contradictory schools 
of psychology, one of which inclined to the central origin of emotion and 
the other to the peripheral. In spite of this, the history of psychology 
until now has given us investigations dealing only with the objective 
study of affect through the study of the peripheral symptoms, and fol- 
lowing this method have been even those psychologists who did not 
accept the view that affect is a state in which the normal course of 
our concepts is disturbed (Wundt). The researches of the Wundt and 
Lehmann's school took as a basis of such symptoms the fluctuations in 
the respiration and pulse. Many authors, as for example, Landis, at- 
tempted to investigate affect by a study of the phenomena of mimicry; 
another group took up the psychogalvanic changes. In all these investi- 
gations, upon which an enormous amount of labour has been spent, we 
have to admit that the results are not uniform, and the symptoms of 
the affective states and their structure are very differently described 
by different authors. Probably the widest divergence is seen in the at- 


tempts to evaluate affect by the change in the respiratory and cardio- 
vascular symptoms. Even recent views, as for example 0. Lowenstein's, 
devote much attention to the divergencies in the evaluation of the physio- 
logical symptoms of such states as negative emotion (Unlust). Authors 
disagree markedly in the evaluations of the symptoms of the various 
emotional states, and the recent works dealing with the classical views 
frequently reject the facts that were previously considered to be in- 
disputable. 1 

We have before us a series of contradictions, confirming our 
view that in the face of undisputed facts obtained by various 
investigators we should seek for the error in the general 
methodologies by the use of which these facts are collected and 
thought out. We believe that the chief error consists in this, that 
the majority of the authors were inclined to see always in the 
affective processes a functional connection with a special stable 
system (often even morphologically strictly defined). Precisely 
therefore the authors expected to see the affect always expressed 
by definite symptoms, and obtaining facts which were varied 
and contradictory they fell into confusion, often ending with 
the belief that in the chaos of disorganisation it was not worth 
while to look for any constant relations and laws. 

We take just the opposite position. In the revealed unstable 
affective symptoms we see a result of this, that the affect is each 
time a function of a dissimilar structure, that the symptoms of 
destruction we study are parts of dissimilar units, and that we 
should seek for the neurodynamical laws of affect on the basis 
of the conception, which discounts these dynamic peculiarities. 

In the neurodynamical analysis of complexes and traumata we 
have already shown that the symptomatic affect depends upon 
the integrated setting of the personality, upon that structure in 
which is included the reaction to the affective stimulus which 
we present. Later we shall try to show that the analogy to a 
static machine must give way to other dynamic conceptions, 
within which the affective processes are revealed as perfectly 
law obeying. 

The detailed analysis of the affective processes should not pro- 
ceed from the mechanism of the affect and a morphological sys- 
tem ; rather it must be based upon a detailed analysis of the 
dynamics. Having obtained marked affective symptoms at certain 
dynamic levels, we must not be surprised if we should observe 
a subdued picture with completely different affective components 
in others ; we should likewise be prepared to see the affective state 

1 See the work of Kaelas concerning the Wundt school, The Question of the 
Nature and Expressions of Emotion, Psychological Review, I, 3-4, 1918. 


in certain settings of the personality have its expression in the 
vegetative symptoms; in others, in the cortical. All this does 
not speak for the absence of law in the given processes, but for 
the varieties of their dynamic structure. The psychologists con- 
cerned with the mechanisms related to personality must see their 
real problem precisely in the study of these labile structures. 

The matter, however, is a little more complicated than we have 
just indicated. It would be well to limit the assertion, that in 
different cases the affect is expressed now in the vegetative 
symptoms, now in the connections of the cortical activity of the 
motor symptoms. The "voluntary" motor system does not reveal 
the same affective symptoms in the same way in all situations, 
and we can state that only under strictly definite conditions have 
we the right to expect an appearance of the motor symptoms 
of affect. 

We shall briefly attempt here to explain all of the material 
which we have already given in part. 




EVEN when a person is in a more or less acute affective state, 
the different motor systems reveal the affect in unequal degrees. 

One may think, however, that morphological conditions the 
connection of different motor systems with dissimilar parts of 
the nerve apparatus do not play a decided role here. During the 
affect, as a matter of fact, the gait may be changed as well as 
the movement of the hands in lighting a cigarette, and it can 
be shown that only the great differentiation of the motor sys- 
tems of the hand or of the face is the cause of their unusual 

We take a different point of view; we believe that the degree 
of expressiveness of that or another system depends not so much 
on its anatomical position as upon its inclusion in one or another 
complicated psychological structure. Therefore one and the same 
motor system can be either expressive or unexpressive, depending 
upon what function it is fulfilling at the given moment and to 
what psychological structure it belongs. If, for example, the foot 
system is ordinarily the least expressive, then this is because it 
is ordinarily the least connected with the higher cortical processes 
and the least included in those psychological structures which 


have the property of maximal labileness and are of maximally 
conflicting character. 

We may at once state that the expressiveness of the motor 
system is greater, the more it is included in a conflicting system, 
and on the other hand, it becomes less, with the diminution of 
its functional connection with the conflict in the personality at 
the given moment. The expressiveness of the system is condi- 
tioned, consequently, not by its morphological but by its func- 
tional situation. Many very simple experiments compel us to 
draw this conclusion; they show that in dependence upon dif- 
ferent psychological inclusions, one and the same motor system 
may express the affect in varying degrees. In order to assure 
oneself of this, it is only necessary to register in one and the 
same subject, who is in a state of fairly acute affect, a series 
of hand movements some of which are included in a complicated 
and conflicting system of psychological operations, some others 
of which remain isolated. The experiment shows us at once in 
what degree the expressiveness of one or another system depends 
upon the functional factors which we have mentioned. We shall 
bring forth a considerable body of material bearing witness to 
the correctness of our point of view: in even the most acute cases 
of disturbed affect the simple movements of the hand, not con- 
nected with any complex psychological problems, usually pro- 
ceed without marked symptoms of destruction, while at the same 
time the movements included in the complicated psychological 
structure show a sharply distorted affect. 

In a large group of cases we tested out this view, which now 
seems to us indisputably correct : even the most marked affective 
states cannot be expressed in motor processes which do not 
require a preliminary restraint of excitation and permit a direct 
manifestation of motor discharge. This principle can be seen 
very clearly and investigated in the most primitive movements 
of an impulsive and direct nature; it is precisely these which 
remain the least involved in the state of affect, and on the con- 
trary the maximal destruction usually falls on the details of the 
given motor system in those cases, when it appears, included in 
the complicated structure requiring preliminary inhibition of the 
direct impulses and of an already complicated organised re- 
sponse. The comparatively regular character of the primitive 
motor reaction in the state of affect parallel with the destruction 
of the complex motor function can be explained precisely by the 
restoration of the diffused character of the excitation and the 


destruction of the "functional barrier" isolating the excitation 
from the direct motor series, as we have mentioned before. 

We shall give only one example, which, however, shows very 
clearly how unequally the affective processes are manifested at 
the various functional levels. We purposely cite the most marked 
case of the acutely disturbed affect which we have observed. 
In Figure 44 we give two series of reactions of the subject Fil., 
tested by us on the second day after he had committed murder 
and upon his entering into an acute affective state ; 1 we 
have already observed in this case a continuous and striking 
disorganisation. From this fact we cannot draw a conclusion ; 
the affect destroys every movement of the hand. It is sufficient 
for us to record those movements, but in a simpler functional 
stratum, removing them from the system of accompanying asso- 
ciations before us there appears an entirely different picture: 
the same movements which were formerly included in the com- 
plicated intellectual structure gave a picture of complete disor- 
ganisation. This is registered at a lower level in an isolated 
form (independent rhythmical pressures). They give us nearly 
normal additional signs of the disturbed excitation and disor- 
ganisation of the neurodynamics. In Figure 44 we record the 
comparative facts which we have taken as an example of asso- 
ciation, undifferentiated by the affective character. 

This example shows only that the simple action carried over 
into the more complicated stages connected with its inclusion 
in the structure requiring an intellectual process, and the regu- 
lated motor impulses lead during the affective state to a com- 
plete disorganisation of the activity, and the destruction of those 
movements whose fulfilment at a lower functional level should 
certainly be possible. 

The fact which we have formulated leads directly to the 
position we have defined before: the affective disorganisation 
of behaviour begins where the problem of cortical control by 
the direct diffusion of excitation arises (motor impulsiveness) ; 
it disappears where the action permits the direct motor discharge 
of impulses; the affect arises in the place where the conflict 
begins to be connected with activity. 

We have accepted as proven the supposition that the simple rhythmical 
activity, uninhibited and direct, can occur without marked disturbance, 
even in the most severe affective states. We must, however, point out 
the limitations: this is true only when our basic conditions are main- 
tained; the free rhythmical activity can appear without disruption only 

1 The details of this case are given in Chapter IV. 





if it is deprived of its conflicting character, if the mobilised masses of 
excitation become converted without obstructions and are converted 
directly into rhythmical motor acts. 

But just this situation is not always seen during the state of affect. 
One of the fundamental laws of affect is that every stimulus mobilises 
enormous masses of excitation, and that these masses quickly cease to 
be inadequate to those possibilities of discharge (their realisation) . . . 
the consequences of this usually appear as a series of symptoms, which 
allow us to see the traces of affect in the spontaneous rhythmical acts. 
The ordinary arhythmia of the spontaneous rhythmical movements aris- 
ing in the state of affect gradually takes on a character of irregularity. 
This is an argument for the mobilisation here of an excessively large 
mass of excitation. The appearance of the most delicate symptoms, 
frequently the conversion of rhythmical movements into tetanoid forms, 
and the marked disruption of the usual form of the curves, proves that 
even on such a primitive level of activity the motor system frequently 
is not in a state to dominate the affect by the mobilised energies. In 
such a state our fundamental conditions disappear and even the primitive 
activity begins to be associated with that conflict causing its organisation. 


The unequal manifestation of affect on two different func- 
tional levels and in different motor systems brings before us 
two important questions: the measurement of the affect and the 
affective types. 

Already the material, which we have described above, gives 
us the right to state that the unequally marked appearances 
of the affective disturbances depend upon the strength of the 
affect, and, on the other hand, the degree of resistance offered 
by the personality to the conflict. In reality, precisely the in- 
tensity of the affective process itself and the degree of stabilisa- 
tion of the behaviour of the personality determine in which 
stratum (of behaviour) the symptoms of the affective disturb- 
ances appear. A general examination of the symptomatology of 
the affect furnishes us with the material and its mechanisms; 
the stratified analysis of the motor disturbances gives us the 
basis of its functional typology. 

The stratified analysis of behaviour becomes of particular interest in 
the study of the structure of neuroses. The single flash of the affect 
passes over into a constant labileness of the nervous system, a constant 
preparedness for the affective reaction, to the fundamental form of the 
disrupted behaviour. The affect passes over into a neurosis, and its psycho- 
physiological investigation may open the path to an understanding of 
its structure. We have collected considerable material in the analysis of 
affects and complexes in the normal subject as well as in the psychiatric 
patient, chiefly cases of hysteria, which have not entered into our in- 
vestigations. But it is this which convinces us of the correctness of the 
principle of the stratified analysis of affect. If in the normal, according 
to the constitutional labileness of the subject, the marked disturbance 
of the motor system appears, as a rule, every time we experience any 
affective complex, then in the hysterical patient the affective labileness 
of the neurodynamics is much deeper, and the diffusion characteristic of 
the affective state already reaches into a primitive stratum of activity, 
destroying those actions which occur perfectly normally in the person 
manifesting a more stable neurodynamics. 

We have seen neurotics who psychophysiologically differed 
in the fact that the affective destruction appeared at different 
levels of behaviour; in some of them even the most primitive 
actions were destroyed ; in others, the affect was reflected in the 
most complex acts associated with the deep conflict. 

Such a stratified analysis of the behaviour of the person or 
neurotic in an affective state makes it possible for us to ap- 
proach more closely to the structure of the disorganisation of the 
human behaviour and to the neurodynamics of the structure of 


There is no doubt that the neurotic whose behaviour is already 
disorganised on the lowest, most primitive levels of activity, and 
the neurotic whose behaviour shows the signs of disturbance 
only in the intellectual conflicts and affective traces that these 
two cases have entirely different neurodynamical structures of 
their personalities. 

The stratified analysis of the affect brings us to the problem of the 
disorganisation of behaviour, to the problem of the stable and of the 
easily disorganised personalities. We began with a description of the 
symptoms of affect, we discussed its mechanism, and we should con- 
clude with the problem of typology and pathology of the behaviour of 
the personality. We shall also give more of this material in Chapter IX. 


WE have shown that the marked disturbances in the motor 
system occur every time that the movements studied by us fall 
directly into the sphere of affect; we have come to the suppo- 
sition that these disruptions arise precisely because the cortical 
apparatus is not in a condition to dominate the masses of exci- 
tation in the affect, and the movement unavoidably takes on an 
excitatory and destructive character. 

The affective processes break up, disorganise the regular neuro- 
dynamics of the activity, creating, in the accompanying motor 
curves which we have been studying, the characteristic motor 
chaos. The observer can justly raise the doubt : Is this chaos ca- 
pable of being studied? 

We shall try to show that behind this motor chaos lie certain 
definite laws, and that these laws are a property of the neuro- 
dynamics of every affective process. The finding of the laws 
existing in the disorder, the principle behind the chaos confront- 
ing us, is a most difficult and a most unfavourable scientific prob- 
lem ; but is not precisely this a quality of every scientific inves- 
tigation ? 

We have taken a subject of our own study of affect, this process 
of chaotic excitation par excellence; we shall try, however, to 
establish several laws, admitting beforehand our humble pre- 

The observations on the neurodynamics of the affective states 
always lead us preeminently to the fact of the destruction of 
the higher automatisms. Then, what was perfectly accessible and 
simple to attain in the normal state proved difficult and well- 
nigh impossible to establish in the state of affect. American 


authors are inclined in such cases to say that the organism has 
lost the ability to produce the standard forms of reaction (reac- 
tion patterns) ; we speak of the destruction of all the regulating 
forms of behaviour. 

The facts with which we are concerned show this very clearly. 
A person who when calm very readily gave stable associated 
reactions, standard for that time, during the affect completely 
lost this ability and began to react with great irregularity and 
with sharp fluctuations in the reactive times. The curves of dis- 
tribution of speed of the associative reactions, the regularities 
in the normal and the chaos in the disturbances of the affect 
show how deeply characteristic of the affect are these processes 
of disorganisation. The analysis of the accompanying motor re- 
actions, which we have described in the preceding pages, actually 
brings us to the same conclusion : instead of regularities in the 
organised reaction there arise in the affective state movements 
which have lost their regularity and standard character: the 
motor reactions do not fit one with the other, lose their simi- 
larities, the higher automatic process becomes changed into sepa- 
rate, disrupted, partial movements. The organism ceases to 
produce movements agreeing with formerly elaborated "reactive 
standards." The destruction of the higher automatisms is a char- 
acteristic symptom of affect. 

If such a destruction of the higher automatisms is really char- 
acteristic of the affective state, then what are the factors behind 
these phenomena? 

There are two possibilities: either the destruction of the higher 
automatisms depends upon the weakening of those very compli- 
cated, supporting and regulating psychological functions, or the 
character which is subject to the regulating processes actually 
changes and becomes much more difficult to regulate. 

We have the facts which show that both of these processes 
participate here; we are at a loss to say which of these is the 
primary one. Further investigation indicates that they are both 
causative factors in all probability. For the present we shall 
analyse them according to their relation to the psychophysio- 
logical problem in hand. 

The structure of the affective reaction always demands atten- 
tion by virtue of its excitability; the first makes an impression 
by virtue of that disorganisation which characterises the affec- 
tive behaviour, and this we can see in each of the adduced 
examples. The excitability of the affective behaviour will be 
used as our starting point in the analysis. 


To what neurodynamical facts can this affective excitation be 
related ? There are at least two groups here, and we shall describe 
them in detail. 

We have good reason for thinking that the affect prepares all 
the excitation to proceed directly to its motor affect, immediately 
to call out the motor symptoms. This tendency is reinforced 
by the fact that precisely in the affect the regulating systems 
usually manifest some weakness and cease to inhibit special "ac- 
cidents" not corresponding to the given setting of the impulse* 

If we compare the behaviour of a person who is quietly con- 
centrated on his work with the behaviour of another during an 
affective experience, the specific structure of the affective be- 
haviour will be obvious. 

The quietly working process is characterised by an organised 
preparedness of the "reactive formulae," the organised choice of 
movements; and the superfluous and unnecessary movements 
drop out ; the foreign excitation usually does not evoke any motor 
impulses whatever; the complicated problems which do not op- 
erate with ready responses generally evoke a protective inhibi- 
tion, going on into confusion of thoughts, and during this time 
all movements are inhibited, and afterwards the excitation is 
connected with the motor system. 

The affect usually gives a picture which is the exact reverse 
of this: the higher automatisms, so stable in the setting of quiet 
work, disappear because the person is not in a condition to 
inhibit any one of his movements ; each impulse leads directly 
to the series of motor symptoms, and continuously fills in com- 
pletely all the intervals previously occupied by the organised 
activity. If we say that the affective person cannot be calm, 
this means, firstly, that he is not in the state to inhibit the 
beginning excitation, that his reactive processes are of a dif- 
fused character, and the barrier separating excitation from its 
direct transformation into movement is particularly weakened. 

Those impulses which are usually manifested in external move- 
ments only after their preliminary elaboration and choice, diffuse 
in the affective subject into the direct motor system, and it is 
perfectly obvious that such a structure of the reactive process 
does not create any chaos in its behaviour. 

The diffuseness of the reactive process in the affective state 
leads to a whole series of specific mechanisms, and it is expressed 
in several laws characteristic for affective behaviour. These have 
already been given in detail, and we shall now dwell only on 
some of them. 


i. The law of the catalytic action of the stimulus especially 
characterises that preparedness of the excitation for a direct 
motor disturbance which we consider typical of affect. This 
means that in the acute affective state, when the language stimulus 
is given to the subject, that, instead of evoking a complicated 
associated process with which the motor reactions have been 
connected already, there is a catalytic action, causing a direct 
motor destruction not connected with the associated activity and 
clearly an expression of the symptoms of the excitation char- 
acteristic of the neurodynamic subject. 

We have such a peculiar Kurzschluss in all cases of affect. 
This we have already described in the situations of people taking 
school examinations and in criminals. We were able to observe 
this phenomenon also in the normal subject during an acute 
affect. The participation of the maximal excitation, as a rule, 
affords us the best example of the manifestation of catalytic 
action of the stimuli. This is shown especially clearly in the 
examination of neurotic subjects whose affective setting takes 
on a permanent character. 

In Figure 45, we submit two curves taken from our protocols 
and representing the motor reactions accompanied by the asso- 
ciated responses. The curves come from our experiments dealing 
with extremely excitable hystero-neurasthenics ; the chief curves 
obtained previously (see Figure 27) contain analogies from other 
cases. All these curves are strictly typical ; they are all con- 
structed according to the same form. In every case the stimulus 
given to the subject causes a direct motor discharge, entirely 
spontaneous and isolated from the associated structure. In the 
first case, the impulsive pressure is immediately inhibited and 
the final motor reaction is given during the associative response ; 
in the second, the direct impulse appears with the same sharp- 
ness; but its inhibition spreads to its passive portion and the 
whole latent period becomes filled with tonic pressures. The 
catalytic character of the action of the stimulus is in both cases 
fairly clear. The last example taken from the experiment with 
the criminal, and shown in Figure 27, manifests the same mech- 
anism of this process; we see that the free intervals between 
the reactions are characterised here by spontaneous impulses, 
which is evidence of the general latent excitation. These symp- 
toms are especially definite in the zones where the excitation 
leaves its affective traces (such a zone as this is seen after 
reaction No. 34). The stimulus following the spontaneous im- 
pulses acts in a markedly catalytic way, conditioning the direct 


motor disruptions; the neurodynamic connection between this 
disruption and the disturbed excitation is likely any minute to 
be itself destroyed upon the slightest stimulus which may appear. 




A series of experiments shows that in the state of affect every stimulus 
can have a catalytic action; this is especially marked in the stimuli 
which call out a direct disruption, according to the contents of the 
affective character. Here the stimulus presented produces a marked ir- 
regularity of the excitation and an especially intensive motor discharge. 
The examples given above in the majority of cases belong to this cate- 
gory; and on this principle are constructed the motor complex reactions. 

The catalytic action of the stimuli is not, as a rule, limited to the 
motor system, but spreads into the speech reactions. Those cases of 
impulsive responses with subsequent speech excitation, which we often 
obtain in the affective state, usually owe their origin to this fact. Here 
the stimulus produces a tendency in the subject to a direct motor ex- 
citation and speech discharge which is given even before the subject 
is in a state capable of forming associations; the consequent signs of the 
language conflict become quite comprehensible. 

We think that this impulsiveness and diffusion of excitation explain 
many things about the character of thinking during affect. Those Kurz- 
schliisse which are so typical of affective thinking have precisely this 
neurodynamical base: the constant preparedness to reactions, the inability 
to inhibit the process in the preliminary stage, not allowing its manifesta- 


tion, and finally the impulsive judgment made suddenly and under the 
influence of external stimuli these are the fundamental signs character- 
ising the thinking of the person during the state of affect and the partial 
thinking of the hysteric. Although we shall not consider in detail the 
specific peculiarities of the higher psychological mechanisms undoubt- 
edly playing a role here, in the psychophysiological analysis we are in- 
clined to connect the indicated peculiarities creating the primitive nature 
of the thinking in these cases, precisely to the diffuse structure of the 
reactive processes. 

2. The law of the decreased action of the functional barrier 
relates to the same group of principles; it appears especially 
well marked in the characteristics of the neurodynamics of the 
latent period of every complex reaction. At the same time as 
in the normal state, each reaction precedes some inhibition of 
all the impulses, and finally their appearance is connected only 
with the last response the structure of the affective reaction is 
somewhat different. The preliminary impulses, as a rule, not only 
are not inhibited here until the final preparation of the reaction, 
but they often fill up the whole latent period, extending into the 
disrupted excitation. The structure of the reaction is transformed 
from a quiet one into an excitatory disorganisation; from a 
differentiated reaction into a diffused one. 

In every reaction we can see such a diffusion, the excitatory 
affective traces and the subsequent affective character. It is 
enough to glance at any of the curves previously given whether 
they are curves of the affective reactions of students during 
examination, or of criminals awaiting trial, or the reactions con- 
nected with suggestions given during hypnosis in all these we 
see one and the same picture: the stimulus evokes a certain 
reactive process ; this reactive process passes over soon in a 
diffused manner into the motor area, producing marked deforma- 
tions of the motor curve which can be seen in the whole series 
of the pressures sometimes organised, sometimes disorganised, 
but filling up the whole latent period. 

In all these cases, the centrally originating excitation pro- 
duced by the affective traces and connected with the prepared- 
ness to the reaction (the attempt to find the associative response, 
the choice of the necessary association) is directly connected 
with the motor system. In this way the reactive process in the 
affective person is sharply differentiated from the structure of 
the normal reaction, where often even a very prolonged search 
for an adequate response arises altogether centrally, not ex- 
tending into the motor system and not producing any motor 
symptoms. Such a separation of the preliminary process from 


the extension into the motor system is one of the most interesting 
peculiarities of the normal reactive process. Precisely this makes 
us think that several organised mechanisms, some "functional 
barrier" restrain here the previous excitation from entering into 
the motor system. What is the result of the mechanism of this 
barrier is the questioji which we shall take up again later : l now 
we are limited to the fact that it exerts an influence in every 
normal reaction and that it is weakened in the affective state. 
We find it, therefore, very useful to describe the properties of 
the affective neurodynamics in the terms of a decreased "fun- 
tional barrier" and of the excitation connected with a direct 
transference into the motor area. 

Two factors create especially favourable circumstances for the 
manifestation of the affective symptoms which we have described. 
The general affective excitation is produced every time that a 
stimulus impinges with any potent trace in the psyche of the 
subject, and the motor setting which is called out in the subject 
by the conditions of our experiment. Therefore, it is obvious 
why the symptoms of the diffuse excitation are able to permeate 
so easily into the system of movements recorded, and our mate- 
rial contains a number of cases of motor disturbances, many of 
which are built upon precisely this scheme of the uninhibited 
"barrier" of the impulses. 

The most marked and constant pictures of similar disturbances 
are found in states of neurosis in those cases in which the 
affective processes from sporadic reactions become permanent 
forms of the behaviour of the personality. The actual involun- 
tary impulses, filling up the latent period of the reactions, may 
be considered especially pathognomonic of hysterical states, in 
which the marked excitability and the weakness of the "func- 
tional barrier" evidently play the deciding role. 

In Figure 46 several examples of the affective reactions in 
neurasthenics are given and all of these are arranged according 
to one type. The beginning central process seen in the adequate 
reaction produces a considerable delay of the latent period, and 
the impulses merging over into the motor system fill in this 
interval with sharply defined reactions, stratified one upon the 

The picture is usually complicated still more by a series of 
secondary symptoms which the subject tries to inhibit, and to 
prevent going over into the motor system, the result is a sharp 
conflict in the motor area. Subsequently, we have an acute patho- 

1 For details of this see especially Chapter XI. 

1 84 


* vL * J 




logical tremor appearing here as the equivalent of the inhibited 
excitation. The curves in Figure 46 illustrate this typical rela- 
tion. Frequently the motor disruption appearing here reinforces 
the inhibition, and the inhibition evokes the disturbed tremor in 
the whole curve. Now we see the conflict again and the delay 
of the adequate reaction, in the source of the symptoms char- 
acteristic of affect (as we shall point out further on) as well 
as in the source of the affect itself. 

The lowering of the "functional barrier" during the state of affect and 
neurosis becomes in this instance especially "energetic." This fact, which 
we shall refer to again in the description of our method the fact of the 


motor reflection of the hidden, inhibited, speech associations is mani- 
fested very sharply just here, in the affective state. Now we are able to 
see how every thought in the brain, every manifestation in the test- 
reaction immediately provokes organised movements of the accompany- 
ing system and reflects the unexpressed speech associations. We see this 
symptom in a marked degree in criminals, and in them it becomes espe- 
cially tragic: the association coming into their minds frequently is of 
a compromising character, and for this reason it brings about inhibi- 
tions; however, the motor reaction of the hand appears the first thing, 
and one of the most marked of such inhibited associative links in the 
"crucial" cases here is this obvious compromising symptom. 

The inhibition of the "attempt to react" is distinguished by its form 
from the spontaneous impulses which we have described. Usually they 
are completely organised according to their character, and are differ- 
entiated from the internal inhibitability, which is shown in their connec- 
tions with the central intellectual processes; in view of this they have 
lost their impulsiveness of form, but this peculiarity is apparent in the 
lowering of the barrier and the ease with which the excitation passes over 
into the motor area. This last characteristic is the subject of our analysis. 


THE property which until now we have attributed to the affective 
neurodynamics is, in substance, a negative one. We limit this 
statement by the fact that the affective states are distinguished 
by a lowering of the ability to isolate excitation from the motor 
area, by the diffused quality of the excitation ; but these factors 
are insufficient to explain the disturbed neurodynamical affect. 
We must show further whence arise those acute ruptures of the 
excitation, that excessive expenditure of energy which we observe 
in the motor storm during the affective reactions. 

To explain the positive nature of the affect and to show with 
sufficient finality what are the sources of this energy supplied to 
the affect means the solution of this riddle. We do not intend 
to do this in the present pages ; this would mean the changing 
of our problem to a much broader and purely physiological 
one. We should like only to draw some general conclusions from 
the empirical facts in the investigations. 

There is no question about the fact that every affective 
stimulus mobilises inadequately a great mass of excitation. The 
specificity in the structure of the affect consists precisely in that 
the activated mass of excitation is so great that the reaction 
given by the subject is not able to dominate this excitation, and 
the latter spreads over into the furthermost processes, destroying 
their normal course. 



The affective focus, as a rule, is never limited by the frontiers 
of the given reaction; almost always every affective process 
starts off the whole stream of disturbances, which are not infre- 
quently manifested most acutely after the reaction to the given 
stimulus. The more acutely the focus is irritated by the given 
stimulus, the greater the probability is that we may expect that 
the evoked excitation will not be responded to, but that we 
will obtain a very marked neurodynamical perseveration. 1 




In Figure 47 we give two examples of an acute affective persev- 
eration. The first of these delays comes from the record of the 
experiments on a criminal. 2 The acutely affective stimulus 
("clothing" burned by the subject after he had committed the 
murder) immediately provokes in him motor excitation, which, 

1 Perseveration = senseless repetition of an idea, phrase or act. Translator. 

2 The details of this are given in Chapter II, Section 5, of this book. 


however, does not subside after the response, and during the course 
of the whole period we see many spontaneous pressures, appearing 
evidently as fragments of the excitation not neutralised in the 
reaction ; this same phenomenon in a labile nervous system gives 
us a more distinctive picture. As is our custom, we search in 
such a case for the neurosis. 

In Figure 47!} we have the reaction of a hysteric in whom 
the stimulus has a marked affective character. To the word 
mokrui (damp) she responds with the reaction "morphia." This 
evidently not only did not neutralise the process of excitation 
in this patient, but it secondarily started off a new affective 
complex; the subject M. was a morphine addict who strove 
energetically to overcome this vice and also to conceal it. As a 
result we see a rupture of the excitation, a motor storm, mani- 
festing itself with an acuteness unprecedented for even this 

The neurodynamical perseveration is one of the most stable 
symptoms of the affective reaction; its mechanism is this: the 
stimulus evokes inadequately a large mass of energy in which 
the speech stimulus is incapable of producing a reaction. The 
facts we have brought forth show that back of this phenomenon 
of the succeeding motor excitation there may be concealed mech- 
anisms of various complexities. Most often the affective stimulus 
calls out such a quantity of excitation that it cannot be re- 
sponded to by the subject in a single verbal reaction. The 
subsequent disturbances observed in this case are the fragments 
of the process; in other cases the subject starts off a new affec- 
tive wave having its own reactions ; the excitation characterised 
by perseveration is here of a secondary nature and it becomes 
very extensive, particularly in view of the absence of any ade- 
quate discharge for this wave. 

The affective tantrum arises here, as formerly, in those cases 
where any strong excitation does not find its adequate reaction 
and leads to inhibition. We come again to the mechanism of the 
conflict at the source of the affect. 


WE shall discuss here another problem having to do with a new 
phase of the mechanics of the affective processes the reciprocal 
relations of the expressive systems. 
In our method we make use of several expressive systems, 


hoping to find therein those symptoms relating to the affective 
processes of interest to us. As we generally employ the language 
stimulus we have recorded the speech reaction, accompanying 
this with an active reaction of the right hand and the simul- 
taneous passive curve of the left hand. Sometimes as a supple- 
ment and control we combine this with a record of the respiration. 

Notwithstanding the fact that two fundamentally fixed lines 
were applied to two homologous, synthetic extremities, the psy- 
chological significance of both of these curves was completely 
different. During the time that the pressure of the right hand 
was actively associated with the speech reaction, making up, 
so to speak, a unified structure, the passive curve of the left 
han represented functionally, as it were, a peripheral stratum 
in which the conflicting processes occurred. 

Naturally from such a structure of the expressive symptoms 
we might expect a maximal reflection of the affective process 
in the one which was actively connected with the conflict in the 
speech area. With this in view we devised our method, hoping 
to obtain in the passive curve of the left hand, only some 
reflections of those active processes which occurred in the right. 

However, does the transference of the disturbance to a passive 
system disclose any psychologically interesting laws, or can we 
expect here a more or less accidental picture, when the reflection 
of the active storm appears now here, now there, in the general 
neurodynamical setting? 

The elements of the motor connections are already contained 
in every normal movement. Figure 48 gives a typical section 
of the curve of the synkinesis. 1 

This fact, of itself interesting to many physiologists, will 
serve us as the subject of special analysis. We would sooner 
accept it as a primary fact and turn to the question of what occurs 
during synkinesis, when the active curve of the right hand begins 
to show marked affective symptoms. 

It is impossible to think that the increased excitation in the 
active hand gives us an increased synkinesis; this follows from 
all the laws connected with the problem of the reciprocal rela- 
tions between the expressive systems. The observations show, 
however, that the matter is somewhat different and more compli- 

The facts make us think that not only synkinesis, but a much 
more complicated reciprocity is at the basis of the extended 

1 Synkinesis = association of a volitional with an involuntary movement. 


associations of the excitatory process manifesting itself in the 
active system during affect. We never see, as a rule, during the 
affective states a marked positive synkinesis, occurring simul- 
taneously with the disturbances manifested in the active system 
and appearing simply as their physiological echo. The marked 
affective synkinesis, undoubtedly plays a role here, but it does 
not arise from such positive accompanying movements. 

Almost all the affective synkineses we are dealing with are 
not so much of a positive and associative character as they are 

compensatory and interfering. They usually appear where the 
activity of the functioning system is inhibited or diminished 
and are not so much synkinesis as they are a transference of the 
disturbance arising in the neurodynamical system. 

In Figure 49 we give such an example of the coupling up 
of the affect ; it is typical for almost all of our cases. The stimulus 
is presented to the subject, producing in him a marked affective 
reaction ; the affect is reflected here at first in the system of the 
active hand producing a series of corresponding symptoms ; after 
this, when the right hand has become quiet, we see a definite 
transference to the left hand, and the left-hand system, until 
this time passive, enters into a state of acute excitation. 


We obtain the impression that the excitation, not finding for 
itself a path in the activity of the right hand, becomes connected 
with the free left hand and produces the disturbance there, where 
until the present there was no disturbance. 


Experimentally we are able to verify our supposition concern- 
ing the compensatory basis of this transference. In order to do 
this we must create a situation so that the increasing affect 
should occur simultaneously with the inhibited activity of the 
right hand ; precisely here we might expect compensation of this 
limited rupture in the disturbance of the left hand and a trans- 
ference of the excitation of the free passive system. 

The experiment which we submit here is taken from a series which 
we have chosen from the second part of our investigations. To the subject 
under hypnotic influence we suggest that after awakening she think fixedly 
of two words, "red" and "blue" but that she will not be able to utter 
them. After awakening she was instructed to associate freely, accompany- 
ing each word with an active pressure of the right hand. 


As expected, after several reactions the store of responses became ex- 
hausted, and she continuously approached that compulsive group of re- 
actions which were at the tip of her tongue, but to pronounce which she 
was unable. There was created an acute affect connected with the im- 
possibility of continuing the series begun. Here we obtained favourable 
conditions for the observation of how the beginning excitation gradually 
is transferred to another system, which until this time had been passive. 
The other system now becomes involved in the activity. 

Figure 50 shows us the whole process fairly obviously and with its 
consequences. At precisely that moment when the tension ceases to be 
discharged into the functioning activity of the right hand, there begins a 
transference of the excitation into the left hand; it steadily increases and 
finally overflows into an acute excitation of the left hand until now 
rather quiet. The compensating character of the transference in this 
case is fairly obvious. 




A series of facts, brought forward by contemporary psychoneurologists, 
lead us to believe that under certain conditions the first of which is 
during inhibition of a voluntary activity, a tension of other systems may 
occur. And even more one may conclude that many of the vegetative 
symptoms of affect have precisely such a secondary origin and are con- 
nected with the transference of excitation from the central nervous sys- 
tem to the autonomic. The interesting researches of Mysischev 1 were 
probably the first attempt to establish the reciprocal relations of the 

1 Mysischev: The Reciprocal Relations of the Vegetative and Somatic Re- 
actions, Psychoneurological Science in the U. S. S. R. Report of the First 
All-Union Congress on Human Behaviour. 


whole series of the most important expressive systems during the dis- 
ruption of human behaviour. 

The analysis of the reciprocal expressive systems indicate to 
us that the neurologically constant mechanisms (synkinesis) 
can under definite conditions obey other more powerful and 
more complicated laws, not of a static but of a functional nature. 
This analysis, however, brings us to several new problems con- 
nected with the dynamics of the affective processes and with the 
active relations of the personality to this dynamics. 


WE have been considering the personality as a parade-ground 
where these various processes occur. In addition to this, though, 
it has a certain active setting, according to its relations to the 
affective reactions, and these settings can condition a series of 
symptoms which would remain otherwise incomprehensible to 
us. We should supplement the mechanics of the affective symp- 
toms by looking on them from the point of view of those changes 
which take place in the active setting of the personality. 

In all of our experiments we meet with the same situation: 
the subject is not especially inclined to express his affect openly, 
and every time during its manifestations he strives, according 
to his relation to the affect, to put up a certain defence reac- 
tion. Sometimes this reaction is strengthened by very definite 
motives: the criminal is in such a position that every mani- 
festation is connected with the affective situation, and these 
traces are, therefore, dangerous for him. Thus we can understand 
our subject very well, when he applies all of his energy to suppress 
the compromising reaction coming into his mind and attempts to 
conceal the manifestation of the affective symptoms. 

Owing to this active reaction of the personality to its affect, 
the process takes on a much more complicated character, it is 
reinforced from the side of the personality by a kind of "sec- 
ondary elaboration," and we often obtain a product so distorted 
by the active strategy of the personality that its analysis may 
be far from easy. 

Precisely this active character of the reactions of the per- 
sonality to its affective processes means very interesting changes 
have occurred in the mechanics of the symptoms which we have 
studied, and allows us to approach to the analysis of several 
new mechanisms. 


The active setting of the personality, according to its rela- 
tions to the affective processes entering into the personality, can 
be expressed in two fundamental forms: the first, the attempt 
to suppress the manifestation of the affect, and secondly, the 
attempt to pass over it along other paths, as far as possible. 
These two forms of reaction constitute the basic means at the 
disposal of the strategical personality, which it usually manifests 
during the situations which we have been studying. 

We shall examine them in detail. 

In the course of all our investigations we have very rarely 
met with subjects who do not attempt to suppress, to inhibit the 
experimental affect called out in them. But we also have rarely 
seen in our cases people who were successful in doing this, or 
cases where the suppressed affect did not manifest itself by 
some objective symptoms. 

We have a large number of experiments in which the sup- 
pressed affective traces are not of serious importance for the 
subject. With the criminals we come directly in collision with 
the most violent attempts to inhibit the symptoms of the affect ; 
but even here this is extremely difficult. 

Two circumstances make the complete suppression of the 
symptoms, so that no traces are left, almost impossible: first, 
the fact that all our experiments are measured by several ex- 
pressive symptoms, and secondly that the experiment has to do 
with a whole series of successive reactions, following one on the 
other. The active inhibition of the affective symptoms always 
produces tensions, and it is quite natural that these tensions must 
be expressed either in one of the simultaneously recorded motor 
systems, or, if these paths are closed, by the course of the subse- 
quent reactive processes. The active confusion of the personality 
does not remove by these means the existing symptoms, but it 
only introduces into them some modifications. 

We have registered simultaneously three reactive systems: 
speech, the active reaction of the right hand, and the passive 
curve of the closed left hand. In these three indicators we have, 
properly speaking, the representations of three different strata 
of activity. It is evident that the chief attention of our subject 
is concentrated on the avoidance of the manifestations of the 
affect in the speech area (to avoid the compromising associa- 
tions, etc.). In direct proximation to the chief system of activity 
is the functioning right hand, connected with the speech process 
and reflecting the neurodynamical changes arising in this basic 
system; the passive left hand, not entering into the system of 


activity, remains on the outside, and constitutes a reservoir into 
which flows the fundamental changes of the active processes. 
In such a structure of the expressive symptoms we might expect 
that the inhibition of the affective symptoms actively manifested 
by the personality would be reflected primarily in the systems 
directly connected with this activity; we see the inhibition 
of the compromising speech reaction, and even perhaps the 
inhibition of the disturbance manifested in the functioning 
activity of the right hand. However, precisely in that moment 
when the excitation in the active system is inhibited we may 
expect in all probability the transference of the suppressed exci- 
tation to another system at the periphery of attention, and this 
we register in the movements of the left hand. We might expect 
the manifestation of the symptoms precisely in this system, 
especially because of its position (the hand hanging in the air, 
having only the fingers around the apparatus). We made it 
very sensitive to every change in the system of excitation, and 
we increased the probabilities in a high degree so that the tension 
would increase precisely in this direction. 

We have every reason to expect, on the other hand, that the 
changed tension, coming about as a result of the suppressed 
affect, is manifested in the successive series of reactions; pre- 
cisely in these cases we have the most favourable circumstances 
for perseveration, which was shown here not only as a rever- 
beration of the existing storm, but as an acute rupture of the 
inhibited post-excitation. 

The process of suppression, as we observe it, usually flows 
according to this scheme: one of the stimuli which we give the 
subject provokes in him an acute affective trace connected with 
the reaction and surrounded by an affective colouring ; the subject 
suppresses this reaction and attempts to replace it by some 
indifferent answer; he subtitutes it by the first word coming 
into his mind which naturally is either some extrasignalising reac- 
tion to a stimulus of the surrounding medium, or a perseveration 
connected with his previous reactions. We obtain a "senseless 
answer" which on closer examination is either an extrasignalising 
response or perseveration, or finally, a simple echolalic repetition 
of the former stimulus. 

C. G. Jung first described these associations in his classical 
work as signs of complex reactions; in further investigations 
they have been treated exhaustively. 1 Here we should like to 

1 C. G. Jung: Diagnostische Associationsstudien I -II, 1910. See also 0. Lip- 
mann: Die Spuren der interessbetoten Erlebenisse, 1911. 


make note of the fact that these symptoms of the affective reac- 
tion, these primitive responses, occur simultaneously as aids of 
the personality to bear the affective reaction, to put up a defence 
against it, to control the appearance of the affect. We have shown 
above that this attempt is partly successful; in the majority 
of cases, however, the affective disturbances are not sustained, 
but they pass over into other less-controlled systems, or else 
provoke more severe consequent disturbances. The affect en- 
dured by the subject, nevertheless, conditions a series of inter- 
esting symptoms. We shall illustrate these by appropriate cases. 

Among our experimental criminals there was one who was threatened 
with a severe punishment if the investigation established the fact of his 
guilt. The subject "Drob." was suspected of the murder of his fiancee; 
the girl was killed by a blunt instrument, the 1 corpse was tied by wires 
to a cast-iron wheel and thrown into the water, from whence after 
some time the body was removed. "Drob." denied all participation in the 
murder; when cross-questioned about the details he said nothing. When 
brought in for the experiment he conducted himself with great assurance 
and was highly discreet. Not one of the crucial reactions (to such 
stimuli as "wheel," "wheel-barrow," "wire," "weight," etc.) gave responses 
connected with the affective situation; the majority of them were of an 
extrasignalising character. In the responses to crucial words the subject 
gave ordinary reactions, entirely unconnected with him, and simply chosen 
from the surroundings or from a previously existing associative series, 
for example, 

21. wheel-barrow 2.4" oilcloth (extrasignalising) 

40. wheel 2.2" wheel (echolalia) 

41. wire 1.6" wire (echolalia) 

43. weight 1.8" weight (echolalia) 

These primitive reactions, usually not met with in the subject, appear 
every time that we touch upon the situation connected with the crime. 
If we chose a list of all the words we gave provoking the primitive extra- 
signalising or stereotyped echolalic answers, they would nearly always 
stand in direct relation to the situation of the crime. The accompanying 
motor system gives us a situation, which, at first glance, is fairly calm 
in all the cases. However, a closer analysis reveals an interesting picture. 
Figure 51 gives us some of these reactions. Only in the first of the crucial 
ones do we see a more marked excitation in the right hand; in general 
the active pressures in the critical instances differ from the others only 
a little. The symptoms, however, indicated in the specific excitation con- 
nected with these reactions take place in a less controlled passive system, 
and we see how each critical stimulus (Figures 20, 30, 40, 41) is accom- 
panied by an acute disturbance in the left hand, shown by an increase 
of two or two-and-a-half times the usual synkinesis. This is repeated dur- 
ing the course of the whole experiment with great constancy, and it 
can be only interpreted as an original linking-up of the connection with 
the suppression of the direct manifestation of the affect. 

The further analysis of the facts obtained in this subject show that 
during the continued suppression the affective symptoms can be directed 




29. plate 2.0" -knife 

30. tied 1.6" chair (extrasignal- 

39- plank 1.8" pen 

40. wheel 2.2" I (extrasignalis- 

1 8. foot 2.0" I 

19. paper 2.4" family 

20. wheel-burrow 2.6" oilcloth 

21. can 2.0" my 

41. wire 1.6" wire (persevera- 


even away from the accessory (passive) system; but then they appear 
with great acuteness in the subsequent part of the experiment, for only 
the portion of continuous inhibition was given. Here in Figure 52 is 
an example of such a case. 


39- plank 1.8" pen 

40. wheel 2.2" wheel 

41. wire 1.6" wire 

42. forest 1.4" forest 

43. weight 1.8" weight 


44. nails 1.6" nails 

45. slave i.4"slave 

46. 2.6"- * 


40. 2.0 SIIK 

47. teeth 1.4" teeth 

Two of the tests with the crucial stimuli in the repetition o! the 
experiment produce echolalia and the portion of the associated stupor 
which is expressed in the echolalic series of six reactions. We are inclined 
to think that we deal here more with the process than with the symp- 
toms; actually all of these reactions give perfectly normal motor expres- 
sions. However, immediately after this participation we gave an increased 
interval and obtained an acute discharge (the experiment is the same in 
the passive system of the left hand), at once the equivalent of the affect 
which is accompanied by the inhibition we have investigated. 

The conclusions we arrive at are of unquestionable interest 
for the study of the affective dynamics. The character of the 
affective symptoms certainly depends upon the nature of those 
reactions with which the subject responds to the given stimulus. 

A completely frank reproduced affective situation in our ex- 
periments gives a definite series of symptoms; its reproduction 
connected with the conflict is in a large degree different from 
the original, and finally the suppression of the affective complex, 
the strife to put a defence against it, not to exhibit it, is a new 
alteration of the affective neurodynamics. 

In the facts of our analysis we discussed only the symptoms 
connected with this latter situation. The lack of reactivity of 
the affective complex in the critical associative function, the 
suppression of the compromising response and its substitution 
by a neutral, confused one, does undoubtedly aid the subject 


in avoiding the symptoms in the active functioning system but 
inevitably they become manifest along accessory paths. Precisely 
in these cases we meet with two primordial symptoms: the ap- 
pearance of the signs of excitation in the parallel passive reflecting 
system and, as we have seen in the illustrative cases, the subse- 
quent discharge reflected in the reactions directly following the 
critical group. 

This last fact brings us directly to the mechanics of the per- 
severative disturbance, playing a prominent role in the dynamics 
of the affective processes. 

The affective disturbances almost never are limited to a narrow 
part of the reaction, not exceeding the limits of the critical reac- 
tions connected with the affective situation. Usually they are 
spread far beyond these limits, and the material which we have 
had the opportunity to analyse gives us confidence in speaking 
of such an irradiation of the affective process. 

Almost every experiment brings forth evidence of such a con- 
sequent disturbance of activity; the figures of the delayed reac- 
tive time which we have already given and the repetition of the 
motor disturbances in the cases of the post-critical reactions 
bear witness to the leading role played by the mechanism of 
perseveration in the dynamics of the affective reactions. The 
above-described laws of the affective mechanics show the pres- 
ence of the large amount of the excitation remaining over from 
every affective reaction. 

However, the character and limits of the perseverative dis- 
turbances are far from being equal in the different types of 
reactions in the subject. The frank repetition of the affect, as a 
rule, in the verbal reaction gives several, unreacted-to, affective 
complexes, and it is accompanied by only a comparatively insig- 
nificant perseveration having the character of a trace influence. 
On the other hand, those cases where the response of the subject 
is inhibitory but the affective reaction is suppressed give the 
maximal perseverated result which has the quality of a com- 
pensating discharge. The majority of cases of acute spontaneous 
impulses and the catalytic action of the stimuli has a bearing 
exactly here, and they are observed just after the frank reaction 
to the affective complex was suppressed. 

The experiments repeated several times with one and the 
same subject make it possible to follow very easily the influence 
of the suppressed frank response to the subsequent course of 
the process. Often we meet with cases in which in one series 
of reactions to the given crucial word-stimulus there was ob- 


^ Vo*. . . .. ^ v^v\^vj W- * 


46. to drag 4.8" to drag 1.4" dinner (perseveration) 

47. tongue 2.1" mouth 5.0" tongue meat 


tained a sharply disturbed response, while in another series the 
subject succeeded in suppressing such an affective answer and the 
confusion was marked by an extrasignalising of stereotyped reac- 
tions. The consequent reaction varies widely in the two cases. 

In Figure 53 we have a case which illustrates clearly the 
described mechanism. 

The subject "St." was accused of the murder of a woman. In the 
first series of stimuli he was given the word "to drag," directly connected 
with the situation of the crime; his reaction is markedly delayed and 
there is considerable disturbance. For the ensuing motor curve there 
remain only slight traces, and the following reaction occurs with hardly 
any disturbances. 

In the second experiment the stimulus is again given to the subject. 
This time he escapes from the perseverated response; the crucial reac- 
tion takes a normal neurodynamic course, but immediately afterwards 
there begins considerable disturbance in the respiration, and the presenta- 
tion of the following stimulus produces a sharp break in the movements 
of the right and left hands accompanied by a clear cut disturbed charac- 
ter of the speech reaction. The indifferent character of the stimulus, 
giving in the first experiment a perfectly normal reaction, makes us 
think that the mechanism of this disturbance is referred exactly to the 
pathological discharges we have described the compensating suppres- 
sion of the frank affect during the critical stimulus. 

The mechanism of the perseveration makes clear to us the 
neurodynamical mechanism, and we begin to see the conditions 
under which it occurs. When we make a detailed analysis of it 
we are able to differentiate in the phenomenon of the persever- 
ated excitation two entirely separate forms, one based on the 
influence of the traces, and the other on the discharges as a result 
of the inhibition. 

We investigated the symptoms of the affective processes in 
several cases; their study leads us to a description of several 
mechanisms characteristic of the disorganisation of human be- 
haviour. In the course of all these researches we have become 
convinced that the destruction of human behaviour, as we ob- 
serve it during acute affect, does not, by any means, represent 
an accidental, chaotic play of excitation and inhibition, but that 
behind the external chaos it is possible to discover several fairly 
constant laws. 

We have come to the conclusion that affective states provoke 
in the psychophysiological picture of behaviour exceedingly 
serious modifications which often lead to a change of the very 
structure of the reactive processes. 

The basic laws that we have established for affect give us the 


impression that the complicated organised structure of the reac- 
tive processes characteristic of the normal person are replaced 
here by a primitive diffusion. If in the normal state every ex- 
citatory process is reinforced until its linking-up with the motor 
area by some inhibition and central elaboration, then during 
affective states it manifests a tendency to pass over directly into 
the motor terminals, to extend into the motor area without being 
previously isolated from it. If anything is a specific quality of 
the neurodynamic affective processes, then it is precisely such 
a diffused structure of the functional barrier connected with the 
mobilisation of considerable masses of excitation inadequate for 
the stimulus. The separate symptoms of the affective processes, 
are, as it seems to us, derivatives of just this fundamental change. 
We have established here a law which seems to us very impor- 
tant. We came upon it in our experimentation as a result of 
natural affective disturbances. 

Two serious questions arise here: First, what are those con- 
ditions that can produce a disturbance of the "functional barrier" 
and a transformation into a diffused structure of the reactive 
processes? What connections in the affect of the mechanism evoke 
these deep alterations in the behaviour of the personality and 
in its neurodynamics ? 

And on the other hand : Secondly, what are the results of the 
mechanism itself of the "functional barrier" and of that organi- 
sation of the reactions which are disrupted in the affect ; when 
does it arise and under what conditions? 

We come to a host of questions leading us from the affect 
in all of its concrete connections and details to a series of special 
questions of neurodynamics. 

These we shall occupy ourselves with in the following parts 
of our investigation. 






THE ANALYSIS of the material dealt with in the first 
part of the investigation convinces us that one of the 
fundamental mechanisms of the disorganisation of 
human behaviour is the mechanism of conflict. 

Experiments have shown us that each time any active process 
increases, it augments the conflict and we obtain an acute dis- 
charge of the affective state which leads to disorganisation of 
behaviour and the destruction of the reactive process. Where 
there was no such internal conflict (we do not have such a case 
in the analysis of trauma) * we usually do not find such active 
psychophysiological disturbances of the behaviour playing the 
deciding role in the acute affect. 

Our material brings us face to face with a number of consid- 
erations which we will now summarise. Every activity represents 
by itself a complete act, a certain dynamic structure. This struc- 
ture inevitably spreads to its limits, and the excitation which 
has been set in motion necessarily manifests the tendency to 
terminate in the motor system, finding its adequate motor ex- 
pression in that reaction which we ordinarily record in the sub- 
ject. If this dynamic structure discloses in one or another of its 
systems a fairly strong conflict, obstructing its adequate motor 
completion, the whole reactive system is disorganised ; the exci- 
tation, not finding its organised exit, becomes spread out, destroy- 
ing the activity of all the chief systems of behaviour. Precisely 
the presence of the conflict in our cases allowed us to analyse 

1 See Chapter IV, Section 4. 



the disorganised behaviour and to establish some characteristics 
of its activity. 

Our investigations with the affect, however, cannot be consid- 
ered sufficient for the decision of the question concerning the 
structure and laws of the disorganisation of behaviour. The mate- 
rial outlines the problems, gives us certain data, but does not in 
any way solve them. A satisfactory and complete understanding 
of the process can be arrived at only by the path of a special 
investigation of those factors which lead to the destruction of 
human behaviour. If until this time we have followed along the 
path of the analysis of the complicated elaboration of complexes, 
then we should now go along the path of the synthesis of those 
same processes from the separate conditions, which the experi- 
menter can vary according to his judgment. We have before us 
the problem of artificially creating a model of affective disor- 
ganisation, not operating once with any natural emotional 
tendencies, but producing it experimentally with the psycho- 
logical mechanisms which in themselves are not connected with 
any affect or emotion. 

Our problem is here analogous to the chemist's who takes a 
number of chemical processes and proceeds from them to known 
operations, synthetically obtaining new qualities. Precisely by 
such a path, not easy but still passable, we hope to obtain a clear 
conception of those conditions which produce a disorganisation 
of human behaviour, of those principles by virtue of which it is 
repaired, and of those forms which it takes. The problem before 
which we stand in this part of our investigation consists in the 
following: we will artificially produce in the activity we are 
studying definite and completely isolated conflicts, and attempt 
to show under what conditions these lead to a wide-spread dis- 
organisation of human behaviour, to a model of artificial affect, 
of experimental neuroses. Such an artificially created model of 
the processes we have studied we are able to control and under- 

We are not the first of those who have artificially created disorganisa- 
tions of human behaviour. A large number of facts pertaining to this 
problem has been contributed by contemporary physiologists, as well as 
by psychologists. 

I. P. Pavlov was the first investigator who, with the help of exceed- 
ingly bold workers, succeeded experimentally in creating neuroses with 
experimental animals. Working with conditioned reflexes in dogs, Pavlov 
came to the conclusion that every time an elaborated reflex came into 
conflict with the unconditioned reflex, the behaviour of the dog markedly 
changed. In the experiments of Erofeeva, the conditioned reflex was 


elaborated to an electrical stimulus. In this case it was sufficient that 
the conditioned food reflex collides energetically with an unconditioned 
defence reflex, in order to obtain an acute disorganisation in the be- 
haviour of the dog: the dog began to bark, to become angry, and he 
manifested a marked irradiation of excitation. The experimenter is a 
witness of an artificially produced state which corresponds closely to the 
state of affect. Further experiments showed that, in order to obtain an 
acute rupture of the diffused excitation, it was neressary only to bring 
into collision two opposite conditioned reflexes; the conditioned reflex 
was elaborated to a circle, and then a differentiated inhibitory one to an 
ellipse after this Shenger-Krestovnikova obtained a rupture in the 
"affect" when she brought before the dog a figure halfway between the 
ellipse and the circle. A similar result was seen in the experiment of 
Parfenov when he brought about the collision of a conditioned reflex 
with a conditioned inhibition, using as a differentiated inhibition a certain 
frequency of the metronome and giving this simultaneously with another 
frequency of the metronome which was connected with the excitation. 
The conflict of the two opposite tendencies inevitably produces here 
an acute disruption of excitation and of disorganisation of behaviour, 
which sometimes takes the form of a continuous, artificially produced 
neurosis. 1 

Although, in the experiments with the collision of the conditioned 
reflexes in animals, it is fairly easy to obtain acute forms of artificial 
affect, it is much more difficult to get those results in human experiments. 

The most successful attempts to produce experimental conflict psy- 
chologically are seen in the experiments of M. Ach. He formed some 
fairly complicated habits, and when he had obtained a stable, persevera- 
tive tendency, he brought this into collision with another tendency deter- 
mined by new stimuli or instruction. The result here was a confusion 
which, however, was overcome by a certain voluntary act. The tendency 
of the conflict in the experiments of Ach was too fluctuating and impera- 
tive to produce an acute affect; on the other hand, the author brings 
out facts of general interest having to do with the study of voluntary 
mechanisms rather than with the study of the mechanism of affect. 
However, in these cases it has been verified that if the "will" is domi- 
nated by the conflict of the tendency, then the conflict is potentially 
capable of producing an interesting disorganisation of behaviour, and only 
an insufficient activity of the tendency studied by Ach is the cause of 
the fact that this process was not called out sufficiently. 

K. Lewin, in our opinion, has been one of the most prominent psy- 
chologists to elucidate this question of the artificial production of affect 
and of the experimental disorganisation of behaviour. The method of 
his procedure the introduction of an emotional setting into the experi- 
ence of a human, the interest of the subject in the experiment helped 
him to obtain an artificial disruption of the affect of considerable 
strength. And in his experiments it is only rarely that the affect elaborated 
experimentally passes over into an actual living experience, and the sub- 
ject begins to feel success in the experiment, just as he would fee) 
success in life, in a very broad sense of the word. 

Here the fundamental conception of Lewin is very close to ours, 

1 I. P. Pavlov Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes, Chapters 17-20. 


Every elaborated excitation manifests a tendency to a direct discharge 
(unmittelbare Entladung) ; obviously precisely the inhibition of this 
tendency, connected with a certain conflict, can produce an acute dis- 
ruption of the affect and a series of new phenomena not hitherto ob- 
served. The closer the action is to realisation, the greater the affective 
disruption that can be provoked by its inhibition; the inhibition in this 
situation which is conditionally characterised, as the Beinahe Entladung 
naturally calls out the maximal disruption of the affect. 

The experiments with the inhibition of the imperative process lead 
to confused activity, motor inquietude, and, finally, the complete dis- 
organisation of behaviour, whether they are called out by external, 
artificial inhibition (interrupted activity-~Ovsyankina, Isko), or the im- 
possibility to find the decision of the problem (Dembo). In all these 
cases, the conflict appearing in a definite phase of activity leads to special 
forms of the disturbance of the ordinarily organised behaviour. 

In our experiments we abandoned the plan of creating experi- 
mental conflicts in the same situation in which we usually 
observed the symptoms of affective disturbances. But this stimu- 
lated us to preserve the system of the accompanying intellectual 
motor acts ordinarily used in our experiments, and to call out 
certain conflicts in the intellectual system in order to investigate 
certain changes in the structure of the accompanying motor 

Such a system of experiments we introduced here not only 
with a desire to obtain results similar to those which we saw 
in the experiments with the acute natural affects; introducing 
the conflict into the definite leading system, the active system 
of speech, we obtained a destruction in that process upon which 
depends the whole structure of the act, and in particular the 
structure of the reflecting motor system. On the other hand we 
have, thanks to the complexity of the speech process, the possi- 
bility of producing the most varying fluctuations in the conflicts 
we have experimentally inserted into the psyches; without diffi- 
culty we can make the conflict greater or less, put it into the 
domain of the understanding or make it destroy the activity. In 
short, owing to this method, we have the freedom of experimen- 
tation which is a necessary condition of all worth-while experi- 

We begin with the basic forms of the conflicting processes, 
having described the mechanisms arising here, hence passing over 
to the study of the dynamics of the conflicting processes. 

We choose two main types of cases in which the acute conflict 
may arise in the beginning activity ; we conditionally name these 
the conflict of the setting and the conflict of the dejection. 

In the first of these, the conflict proceeds from two mutually 


exclusive tendencies; the experiments of Pavlov are constructed 
on this principle; the classical example with the situation of 
the Buridanov ass is the best example of such a conflict. The 
conflict of the setting can be obtained in any situation of choice, 
producing in the subject vacillations in the choice between defi- 
nite possibilities; the more these latter balance each other, the 
more chances there are for an acute and dominating conflict. 
If, however, in this case the conflict is evoked in the sphere of 
purpose, then there is no special difficulty in transferring it to 
the sphere of activity. In order to do this, it is necessary to use 
the means employed by Ach, and having elaborated a definite, 
stable tendency, then to bring it into collision with another be- 
longing to an opposing setting. The conflict of this kind is con- 
nected with the fluctuation here, as we can readily see, and daily 
experiments lead us to think that exactly here we may succeed 
in elaborating the mechanism of the affect. 

The second of the cases is connected with the phenomenon 
of defection in the person in the face of some complicated fairly 
important problem. As in the case we have just described, this 
conflict reveals a very serious and deep-lying process, often 
constituting the basis of neuroses, and created in the experiment 
by a situation in which the subject's assurance of his ability to 
decide the problems comes into collision with his defection in the 
actual solution. In real life we might expect similarly to pro- 
voke a series of processes conditioned by the affective disorgani- 
sation of behaviour. 

We shall not take up here the other possible cases, but shall 
begin with the analysis of the facts obtained in the experiment 
with these two kinds of conflicts. 


A. Preliminary trials 

In our attempt to evoke a conflict of the setting from the very 
first we proceeded along a simpler path. In order to cause disor- 
ganisation in human behaviour we decided it would be sufficient 
to perform in the human an experiment similar to Pavlov's in the 
animal, in which he brings together two opposite reflexes or two 
motor activities. 

We did several preliminary experiments in which the instruc- 
tion about moving the hand upward was connected with one 
signal, and, vice versa, the instruction to move the hand down- 
ward was connected with another signal. Having elaborated these 


reactions, we gave stimuli to the subject at intervals (for ex- 
ample, after the stimuli "red" and "yellow" colors, and the 
intermediate colors, etc.), and we obtained almost unchanging 
negative results. Instead of the expected confusion and disor- 
ganisation of the reactive process, the subject reacts in another 
way; in lieu of the impulsive pressure he forms a link in the 
behaviour with speech, and begins to reason out the inhibition 
of his reaction and finally gives some organised response (for 
example, subsequently, making both movements or perhaps none). 
The difficulty here caused a reconstruction of the reactive 
process, but the inclusion of speech made it possible to over- 
come this difficulty by some organised path. Simple experiments 
on animals cannot be applied directly to the human, manifesting, 
as he does, more complicated means of adaptability, and the 
problem to produce the disintegration of behaviour with the 
help of a simple setting of conflict is not nearly so easy as we 
at first thought it would be. Obviously it should be necessary 
to create a more automatic setting which might not be imme- 
diately disrupted by the inclusion of the higher psychological 
mechanisms, that would allow us to obtain an active conflict 
sufficiently strong to produce a perceptible disturbance in the 
subject's neurodynamics. 

We attempted to use automatic motor acts to produce this 
conflict by giving to the subject a definite speed of rhythmical 
motor reactions and then suddenly trying to change this rate 
when we gave a signal. 

However, in these experiments it is not possible to see com- 
plete success. Notwithstanding a fairly considerable automati- 
sation of the process, normal adult subjects master this problem 
very well, and at the moment of transference we found in these 
subjects not much disturbance. As might be expected, the transfer 
from a slow tempo to a quick one produced only a removal of 
the inhibitory delays and the realisation was accompanied rather 
easily; the opposite process of a sudden transfer from a quick 
to a slow tempo was much more difficult and was often con- 
nected with a continuation of the old quick tempo and with a 
certain struggle. However, considerable destruction of the be- 
haviour could be observed in this situation only in subjects having 
a hyperexcitability of the nervous system and with considerable 
lowering of the mechanisms ; * the regulation in our normal 
subjects is so well developed that the given situation is dominated 
by it without special difficulty. 

1 See Chapter IX. 


Obviously the process of simple motor exchange of tempos 
is too labile, and one must use additional means to obstruct 
the transfer from one tempo to another. We can elucidate this 
problem in a fairly simple way. In order to do this it is sufficient 
to carry the conflict of tempo from the sphere of simple motor 
reactions to that of speech, and propose to the subject with 
maximal abruptness to change the tempo, net of simple rapping 
but of a complicated associative process, the tempo of which 
shows a much higher degree of inertia and which tolerates the 
changes with great difficulty. 

We let the subject associate freely and rhythmically, saying 
every word that comes into his mind and accompanying each 
word by a pressure; according to the analysis suddenly pre- 
sented to him the subject should quickly make the transfer to a 
different tempo. In this series the changing rhythms carry the 
disturbance in the movement of associative series, already having 
not an automatic character, but a differentiating definite struc- 
ture and a much greater intensity; the trial to change abruptly 
the accepted tempo meets here a greater resistance, and in- 
evitably causes a cleavage of the whole structure of the asso- 
ciative process. 

The results which we obtain show that we have chosen the 
proper method. The marked disturbance of the tempo of a certain 
process, characterised by a definite structure and inertia, creates 
a perceptible conflict, which is reflected in the accompanying 
motor sphere in the form of a sharp disturbance similar in 
type to that obtained in the investigation of the affective and 
complex processes. 

The instruction to change to a slow tempo produced a collision 
of the prepared response with a conditioned signal of inhibition, 
and the completely adequate and normal curves then commence 
to show a disorganisation, characterised by a tremor. 

In our normal subjects we obtain such a result only in the 
case where the exchange of tempos was carried over into the 
structural, associated process; and we almost never obtain an 
acute conflict when such an exchange was brought about in the 
automatic process of simple rhythmical pressures. 

Figure 54 shows that in the automatic peripheral process 
the subject quickly masters the transfer, but in the complicated 
structural activity he has much more difficulty and there results 
an acute expression of conflict. At first we obtain symptoms 
usually characterising those in the associative series of affects 
(loss of regularity in the form of the movement, the dispersed 



tremor, the signs of acute excitation) by the production of purely 
artificial, formal factors, not connected with the contents of the 


A. Subject R., exchange of tempos during tapping. 

B. Subject Ands., exchange of tempos in a chain series. X slow. 

It is important to observe that the disturbance produced by the sud- 
den transference is reflected in profound changes of the structure of the 
current process, and the perceptible disturbance of the associative series 
shows that the conflict led to a considerable rupture of a more com- 
plicated psychological process. It would seem that the simple delayed 
associations do not represent any serious obstruction; in reality, how- 
ever, the inhibition of the motor manifestation of the prepared reaction 
inevitably leads to a rupture of the internal structure of the reactive 

The same "flattening" of the associative series which we usually saw 
during affective states appears here every time that we suddenly inhibit 
by a signal the tempo of association which the subject has accepted. 
As a rule we obtain in these cases an interruption in the series, returning 
to the former links and a considerable "flattening" of the associative 
connections. Here is a typical case: 

Subject B: theatre, bell corridor ...curtain music organ satis- 
faction bad humour buffet money (slowly) bell applause return 
tram work . . . 

Subject Sol: ladder window whistle scream fall (slowly) whistle 
passage university. 

In both of the given cases the delayed associative series produces dis- 
organisation and a return to one of the former links; the further series 
is considerably disturbed. We are inclined to see the explanation of this 
in the fact that the last conflict in direct approximation to the motor 
sphere (the inhibition of the preparation of the enunciation of the 
word) conditions the disturbance of the whole central structure of the 
process. We undoubtedly have here one of the most important mechanisms 
lying at the basis of the affect, and the inclusion in the conflict of 


the complicated intellectual process makes us feel that we are on the 
right path. 

Intentionally we do not speak here about the cases in which our 
stimulus provokes a linking up to the tempo as quickly as possible. 
Naturally here we obtained a disturbance incomparably more acute, 
but these experiments already proceed from those conflicts of tempos, 
and we shall discuss them especially when we come to speak of the 
conflict of defection. 

B. Experiments with the Conflict of the Language Setting 

Before us was the problem of including the conflict of the 
setting in the process connected with the complicated structural 
activity, at the same time observing the basic rule of leaving 
completely unchanged everything connected with the contents 
of the process we were studying. We decided to try to provoke 
a conflict by the exchange of the formal settings, leaving unal- 
tered the direct contents of the process. The presence of the 
change in the contents was expected as a result of the arranged 
conflict of the mechanisms. 

Usually the system of languages is very suitable for this 
problem. One and the same presentation, preserving the identity 
of the contents, is reflected in the various languages by very 
different words ; speaking in a certain language, the person creates 
a definite setting, which, during the transfer to another language, 
loses the marked changes in the forms; but as far as concerns 
the motor innervations, the expressed contents remain completely 
untouched. It should be sufficient to bring into collision such 
language settings in order to evoke a conflict of two very com- 
plicated structural systems and to have the possibility of investi- 
gating the results which this conflict might call out in the 
neurodynamics of the subject. This is the procedure we followed 
in our experimentation. 

We took the subjects who knew two languages equally well, 
and told them that in the series of experiments to be performed, 
words from both of these languages would be represented. In 
every case the subject had to answer by the first word thought 
of, but in the same language as that of the given stimulus. 

Our experiment included, consequently, the conditions of the 
conflict, but this conflict was not connected with the contents 
of the presented word, but exclusively with that sudden and 
unexpected exchange of the language setting which occurs in 
the natural setting and with a comparatively slow tempo, but 
it appeared exceedingly perplexing in the setting of the experi- 



ment in which the subject was given the problem of not inhibiting 
the responses and answering as quickly as possible by the first 
word thought of. 

We introduced two parallel series in our experiments in order 
to be sure that the relations we obtained were not connected 
with ignorance of the foreign language to which the subject must 
make this transfer but exclusively with the factor of the sudden 
change of the setting. In the first of these, five foreign words were 
scattered among twenty-five Russian ones; in the second, the 
relation was reversed, and twenty-five foreign words were dis- 
persed among five Russian ones. 

In order from the very beginning to create a certain basic 
setting the first eleven word-stimuli were the basic language 
for the given series; the crucial words requiring transfer to the 
other language occupied in both series the nos. 12, 17, 24, 26, 29. 

Here is a list of both series which we used : 

Series A. 

1 night (R) 1 

2 hut (R) 

3 lamp (R) 

4 fire (R) 

5 rope (R) 

6 sour (R) 

7 pool (R) 

8 glass (R) 

9 flowers (R) 

1 Monat 

2 Himmel 

3 Haus 

4 Licht 

5 Hase 

6 Kopf 

7 Nachbar 

8 Trommel 

1 1'ombre 

2 le chemin 

3 la neige 

4 le chien 

5 le pain 

6 la femme 

7 le sac 

8 le chat 

1 (R) indicates 

10 bell (R) 18 spectacles (R) 

26 Wasser 

ii hand (R) 19 flag (R) 


12 Farbe(lame) 20 oar (R) 

27 ring (R) 

13 stick (R) 21 rock (R) 

28 earth (R) 

14 wine (R) 22 image (R) 

29 Hund 

15 bridge (R) 23 roof (R) 

(la ch; 

16 beam (R) 24 Feder (la 

30 switch (R 

17 Beispiel (1'ex- plume) 

emple) 25 frame (R) 

Series B. German- Russian 

9 Leben 17 boat (R) 

25 Sommer 

10 Strasse 18 Storch 

26 sand (R) 

ii Blume 19 Hof 

27 Wasser 

12 nail (R) 20 Schwester 

28 Brille 

13 Lowe 21 Winter 

29 cat (R) 

14 Heft 22 Feuer 

30 Hosen 

15 Stroh 23 Vogel 

1 6 Herde 24 camel (R) 

Series C. French-Russian 

9 casser 17 boat (R) 

25 la salle 

10 1'argent 18 1'encre 

26 sand (R) 

ii le livre 19 aller 

27 le forest 

12 nail (R) 20 la cune 

28 le fusil 

13 le ciel 21 la vache 

29 cat (R) 

14 la chaise 22 la tasse 

30 la lettre 

15 le grain 23 la manche 

1 6 la viande 24 camel (R) 

;hat the word was given in Russian, 

not English. 



This list shows that the stimuli themselves were about equally 
difficult, and, obviously, did not meet with any special ob- 

In this series we used thirteen adult normal subjects, knowing 
both languages well. In contradistinction from those whom we 
were studying in the first part of our investigations, these were 
people who were in contact with the psychological laboratory, 
and from whom, consequently, we would naturally expect con- 
siderably more organised and confident reactions, in view of 
their acquaintanceship with the experiment. 

The results obtained here proved that our method is correct. 
One problem is quickly transferred to another language setting 
after the setting to one language had been created ; it called out 
a considerable conflict and introduced a series of very interesting 
and serious disturbances in the associative process and in the 
corresponding motor activity. These symptoms produced by only 
one acute conflict of the setting were very similar to those which 
we have seen in the affective and complex reactions, and we think 
that we were successful in separating in an artificial way that 
mechanism which plays an important role in the psychophysi- 
ology of the affect. 

Even the first, most general analysis shows that the sudden 
transfer to another language is combined with a very great 
destructive process : 


Series A 

Reactive Time 

Motor Reactions 




Am M 



Critical Stimuli 
Post-critical Stimuli 


2 ' 6 ,',' 









Series B 







Critical Stimuli 






Post-critical Stimuli 







Table 23 shows that the crucial reactions (to the stimuli re- 
quiring a sudden transfer) take place with a marked slowing 
and considerable disturbance in the accompanying motor system. 
These disturbances are referred not to the difficulty of associating 
in a foreign language, but exclusively to the position of the 
given stimuli in the series of stimuli in the other language and 
to that conflict which is called out by the necessity of trans- 
ferring from one setting to another. This is shown very clearly 
in our second control series where the Russian word, occurring 
among the foreign, calls out a much more inhibited reaction 
than it would with the more difficult stimuli in the remaining 
series at first view a paradoxical situation. One transfer to a 
new setting and the removal of the former setting is evidently 
sufficient to cause acute neurodynamic disturbances. It is inter- 
esting that the usual result (of course, somewhat weakened) is 
called out by the negative transfer: the stimuli of the funda- 
mental series occur much more slowly and with many more dis- 
turbances if they follow after the word given in the foreign 
language and, consequently, require a reverse transfer. 

One fact deserves our special attention: the disturbance in 
the accompanying motor reaction is met with in our series almost 
exclusively in the cases connected in one way or another with 
the conflict of the settings; if they are encountered hardly at 
all in the serial reactions of our experiment, then their number 
is increased to 40% in the foreign words suddenly given, and 
20-30% in the post-critical cases. This proves that the inhibition 
of the new language setting is accompanied by a conflict. 

A careful analysis reveals the mechanism of the processes. The 
sudden inclusion of the new language setting produces a shock 
in the subject, which is expressed in two forms; it may dis- 
turb the receptory activity or cause a conflict in the motor 
system. Both cases show us the mechanism of the affective 

i. The receptory failure is due to the fact that the subject, 
during the sudden change of setting, is unable to understand 
the word presented, although in its normal context it is readily 
comprehensible. We see here how much the reaction of the word 
depends upon its context, and what a disorganised process may 
arise when this context is altered. In the more marked cases 
there is complete inhibition of word reception during the acute 
conflict; and the subject complains when the twelfth word is 
given (the first one in the foreign language) that he does not 
hear it, although it is pronounced as clearly as the others. Thus: 


Subject Mil. (series A) 12. fire I did not hear it . .. 
Subject Bir. (series A) 29. la chaise I did not hear it 
Subject Kar. (series A) 12. Farbe Ach! that's German 
Subject Svav. (series A) 12. Farbe fargei? What is that? 
Here we see a mechanism of great interest. The understanding 
of the word is possible only in the usual language setting; a 
foreign context makes its perception difficult, or the word in- 
audible or changes its sound, as in the last example. 

In the light of these experiments there are clear to us two facts: 
The first of these is the case of the affective and hysterical reception 
connected with the confused understanding of the presented words. In 
our former experiments we met with many short examples when the 
subject was not capable of receiving the word as it appeared only in 
connection with some affective experience. Thus it often seemed that 
the subject did not hear those words in the experiment offered him when 
they related to the performance of a crime, to a traumatic situation, to 
an affective complex. During many years of work we have hardly met 
a case of impaired reception outside of such affective complexes, and we 
fully confirm Jung's statement that the "not hearing" is one of the 
affective symptoms. We think, however, that the simple simulation or 
desire not to hear explains this fact not at all, and that behind these 
facts are concealed the mechanism which we mentioned in this experi- 
ment. Evidently the word entering into the affective or complex situa- 
tion in many cases can actually become isolated from the rest of the 
psychical structure of the experiments, which presupposes a definite 
transfer to it calling out the conflict connected with this transfer. The 
perverted reception, and sometimes even the "unheard" become now 
fully possible. 

The second fact to which we turn is connected with the cases of 
amnesia described in the literature (Halbwachs), in a considerable part 
of the experiment during the sharp change of the surrounding context; 
the described cases of loss of memory during the transfer to an entirely 
new setting only confirm that dependence of reception upon the context 
and that conflict of transference which we could establish. 

In the cases we have chosen, the produced conflict leads to a 
disturbance of the receiving system. Much more often, however, 
we meet with other results than those called out by the con- 
flict. These we shall describe separately: 

2. Cases of Effector Disturbances are usually connected with 
the fact that in the subject from the beginning of the experiment 
there is already created a setting to react to a definite language, 
and during a sudden transfer to another language this setting 
is not easily removed. Frequently the subject manifests a 
tendency to prolong the response to the accepted language ; sud- 
denly the transfer collides with this tendency, and at the same 
time there is brought out a conflict in the linguistic motor system. 


Often the subject is not capable of controlling his former set- 
ting and we have very accelerated reactions in this series to the 
critical word with its simple transfer to the basic language series 
(or the associative response to the basic language series) often 
entirely unexpected by the subject: 

Subject L. (series A): 12. la rue 1.4" street 

17. Texemple 5.8" characteristic, ex- 

Subject Kor. (series A) : 12 Beispiel 2.4" example 

This tendency appears very clearly in the defects of the oppo- 
site transference, where, after the critical word is given, the 
problem is again connected with the basic language of the experi- 
ment, for example : 

Subject Rub. (series A) : 30. branch 1.4" Schnabel 

(series B): 27. le foret 5.0" die Forelle 

or the irradiation extends even into the parts of the experiment 
which were free from the crucial stimuli, disturbing the adequate 
courses of the reactions : 

Subject Shub. (series A) : 15. bridge 2.0" Briicke 

Subject Rub. (series A) : 15. bridge 3.0" pont de marechal 

All this shows that in our experiment we evoke a considerable 
perseverative tendency which the subject is not always able to 
manage. The attempts to overcome this produce an acute con- 
flict, and here we have a series of symptoms of disorganisation 
of the associative process, bringing us again to the mechanism 
of the affective disturbances. The subject is rarely able to correct 
altogether the intense perseverative setting ; usually the normal 
response is given only after the removal of the former persevera- 
tive response which comes into the mind of the subject first. As 
a result of such a conflict we have a complicated reaction, the 
open speech link of which is the structure for the preliminary 
removed, first, impulsive answer: 

Subject Eoch. (series A) : 15. bridge 6.0" m ... m ... dis- 
tress (I wanted to say Briicke). 

Subject Er. (series B): 24. la plume 4.6" p...poisson I 
wanted to say "pero" [Russian for feather]. 

The structure of these reactions appears to us fairly clearly. 
From the analysis of the whole process the senseless character 
of the reactive response is comprehensible: owing to the conflict 
of the setting in the subject there is manifested a definite per- 
severative tendency to the translation of the word given here; 
this tendency is extinguished, but the speech response is given 
not as an association to the presented stimulus, but as a substitu- 


tion of the extinguished translation; more often it is connected 
with the replacing link by means of the sound connection (Sub- 
ject Er. feather poisson. Subject Shp. ; 20 oar Ruder roo ka 
[this is the Russian word for hand]. Subject Poch; bridge 
bridge Briicke), sometimes given as the result of perseveration. 
In all these cases the lowered character of the association is 
accompanied by considerable motor disturbance, which convinces 
us that the process is the result of a conflict. 

The more typical of these motor disturbances reflect the com- 
plete conflicting structure of the process here. In Figure 55 we 
see the graphic equivalents of two of our recent reactions : 






We see at a glance that the last reaction expressed in the 
speech response is a result of a fairly complicated and intensive 
conflict, connected with the dislodged perseverative link; the 
accompanying motor changes show that all this process does not 
have an undisturbed course by any means, and that the conflict 
actually is the basis of such "flattening" speech responses similar 
to those we have met already in the experiments with the affec- 
tive signalisation. 

In the case given of the accompanying motor reaction, the 
whole structure of the reaction comes out in full : the manifesta- 
tions of the intervening link, its dislodgement, and the matching 
of the final speech reaction. However, it would be a mistake to 
think that the conflict does not arise from any other processes 


than the complexity of the structure of the reaction. The experi- 
ment confirms that the conflict provokes deep neurodynamic 
changes, analogous to that which we have already described in 
the study of affects. 

We shall stop to consider only two of these mechanisms: the 
appearance of the impulsive reactions and of the perseverated 

The conflict which we bring out very often causes in the sub- 
ject a considerable shock of the higher speech processes, which 
are accompanied by a rupture of the "functional barrier" and 
the emancipation of the motor area from its connected organised 
process. A series of cases that we observed showed that during 
the acute conflict the inhibition of the speech reaction is con- 
nected with the fact that the excitation is directly transferred 
to the motor sphere, and the impulsive pressure, later the 
inhibitory, gives us a picture completely analogous to that which 
we have observed during the reactions in the state of affect. 

Figure 56 shows typical examples of such an emancipation of 
the motor area from the complicated cortical processes; it is 
perfectly obvious that the speech response, having collided with 
the obstacle, could not be restrained in the accompanying motor 
sphere as it was restrained in the chief speech area, and such 
a disorganisation of the reactive process is a necessary conse- 
quence of the conflict. 

One of the chief mechanisms characteristic of the neurodynamic 
affective state is created in the artificial experiment and geneti- 
cally connected with the mechanism of the conflict. 

The disturbances which we have obtained by this artificial path 
manifest not only the symptoms proceeding from the affect, but 
they reveal the analogous dynamics. The disorganisation con- 
nected with the conflict is not concentrated on the crucial reac- 
tion, and if we look carefully at the structure of the neurodynamic 
process, which conceals the accompanying motor reactions, we 
see that every conflict produced by us leaves after it certain 
traces, and these are continued for some time; only gradually 
they become extinguished and are activated by the presentation 
of the following stimulus. We approach here the mechanism of 
perseveration exactly as we did in the case of the natural affec- 
tive complexes, and we are able to see its neurodynamic basis 
behind this empirically described phenomenon. 

In reality the conflict introduced into the psyche of the sub- 
ject does not leave the neurodynamics in a complete state of 
rest after the reaction to the conflicting stimulus is given; the 




Fi^ No.56 





accompanying motor reactions almost always give us a sharp 
increase of the tremor after the conflicting reaction. Once more 
this shows that the conflict provoked a certain excitation which 
was not neutral for the given response. Figure 57 shows curves 

1 All of the responses in these experiments given in English are translations 
from the Russian. 




proving that after the evoked conflicting reaction of the obstacle 
the neurodynamics loses for some time its regular and organised 
form of work. 

These results bring us squarely up to that fact which was 
described by many authors, and the neurodynamical mechanism 
of which for so long a time we were unable to study directly. 
We knew that in the associative series there was often a dis- 
turbance not only of the crucial reaction but also of the subse- 
quent one; in the present experiments, having produced the 



conflicting process in the subject, we obtained the same results 
artificially. What neurodynamical processes, however, are at the 
basis of this process? The adduced facts allow us to arrive at its 
decision. The experiment proves that the excitation begun during 
the conflict is not only continued for some time after the con- 
flicting reaction, but it influences the next reaction to a certain 
degree. The subsequent stimulus falls already on an excitatory 
soil prepared for disorganisation, and we often see here the 
emancipation of the motor area from the control of the higher 
cortical apparatus, the tendency of a direct transfer of the excita- 
tion to the motor sphere. This is evidence of the weakened par- 
ticipation of the higher psychological system and of the return 
of the reactive process to the primitive diffused state. 

1 No. 58 


Figure 58 brings us to the mechanism of this process. We see 
clearly that in the latent period the subject shows some inquietude 
marked by the increased tremor of the hand; with this is con- 
nected the impulsive character of the following reactions, the 
excitation after the crucial reaction is somewhat calmer, but the 
readiness of the subject to give the impulsive response remains, 
and the presented stimulus calls out the motor reaction which 
is already not coordinated with the speech response; this is shown 
by the premature, impulsive pressure. We obtained the structure 
of a process completely analogous to that which we have already 


observed in the natural setting (see Figure 27). With such a 
structure of the neurodynamics, of course, there are connected 
considerable defects, and the course of the associated reactions 
as well as the mechanism of the perseveration become much 

We shall not take up here a question which might be fully studied in 
our series, but which would take us far afield of the chief problems of 
this book. The collision of two language settings permitted us to study 
experimentally that interesting question which is connected with the psy- 
chological picture of linguistics. Our experiments could be compared with 
pidgin English. The changed forms which we obtain here allow us to 
establish experimentally the basic lines along which proceed the perver- 
sions of a language during collisions of it with another language. The 
separate cases furnish us beautiful examples of those abbreviations and 
combinations resulting in a conflicting structure of language which we 
see so frequently in children and in bi-lingual peoples. 


THE experiments with the conflict of the setting permits us arti- 
ficially to create a skeleton of the affective reactions and syn- 
thetically to obtain a series of symptoms characteristic of its 
neurodynamics. The experiments with the conflict of defection 
make it possible to take the next step in this direction and enable 
us to give a reasonable explanation of the series of new mech- 
anisms characterising the ''synthetic model of affect." We can 
speak of the conflict of defection in those cases in which the 
subject suddenly becomes unable to complete any complicated 
problem which he had considered possible. 

In order to produce the conflict of defection the collision of 
these two basic conditions is necessary: the activity which the 
person is taking up should from the beginning tax his ability, 
and he should actually begin to try to realise the problem; on 
the other hand, it should reach beyond the difficult, exceeding 
the limits of his capabilities, and the attempts which he began 
must meet with an insurmountable obstacle. Precisely in the 
result of such a collision the attempt toward activity and the 
impossibility to attain it, of hope and of weakness, inevitably 
brings about a certain state, characterised by confusion, affective 
and disorganised behaviour. 

The conflict of the setting led us directly to the problem of 
affect ; then the conflict of defection should be directly connected 
with the problem of neurosis. There is not a single neuropathol- 
ogist who would not point to social or biological defections of 


the subject as the basis of the entire series of psychoneuroses. 
Alfred Adler constructed around this conflict a whole system 
which greatly aided us in the comprehension of neurotic mecha- 
nisms ; the conflict of defection in the presence of an impossibility 
to compensate meets here a fundamental mechanism, giving birth 
to a pathological affect and bringing about a prolonged neurosis. 

The above neuropathologist confirms our opinion of the con- 
siderable role played by this conflict. Having investigated it in 
the experimental setting we can obtain a fairly well reflected dis- 
organisation of behaviour. 

In order to obtain synthetically in the subject a similar conflict, 
far more is necessary than to give him a problem so difficult that 
it exceeds his ability. Such a situation may bring about a refusal 
of the attempt to solve it ; but then there is not always a con- 
flict. We should produce in the subject assurance that the pro- 
posed problem is capable of solution to encourage his active 
essays directed to the decision of the problem, and afterwards, 
bring these trials to a difficult obstruction, before which he is 
impotent. Precisely such a setting toward "success," arranged in 
the face of a serious impediment, constitutes the condition neces- 
sary to obtain the desired conflict. 

Some of the experimental applications in the work of K. Lewin fur- 
nish excellent examples of the means which may be used in such tests. 
The experiments of T. Dembo called out probably the most acute and 
stable affects of all those known in psychological research. The scheme 
according to which they were arranged was precisely one of deceptive 
setting toward success. It was proposed to the subject to accomplish a 
definite action: for example, to get some flowers lying in a chair, not 
going beyond the limits of a certain area marked out on the floor. The 
experiment was done in such a way that the subject was assured of suc- 
cess, and after he had successfully solved the problem by two successive 
ways, it was proposed to substitute the solution by still a third method; 
the situation, however, was incapable of solution by this method, but 
the previous accomplishments created in the subject a setting towards 
success, which met with an unsurpassable obstruction. The result of this 
conflict leads to an affective discharge, and Lewin, describing these ex- 
periments, notes the especial acutencss of the affect provoked. 

Very clear results of the collision of the setting for success in the 
unattained problem were seen in another series of experiments done also 
under the direction of Lewin. To a child it was proposed that he get a 
confection, separated from him by some distance, but which he could 
not reach with his hand. The greater the setting toward success was, 
the more marked was the activity of the child and also the appearance 
of the affect during failure. The activity and consequent disorganisation 
of behaviour assumed especially clear-cut forms when the confection was 
brought so near to the child that he could almost touch it with his hands, 


and the impossibility to get it collided with the acute setting toward 
success. Such a Bcinahc Situation was very advantageous in producing 
the sharp conflict of defection and in obtaining so definite a disorganisa- 
tion of behaviour. 

All these results furnished us the scheme with which it was 
possible to obtain such an interesting conflict ; we arranged sev- 
eral series in which the intensity of the response collided with the 
impossibility of attainment. 

A. Experiments with Limited Associations 

We employed a very simple method to obtain the structure of 
the described process, not fundamentally changing the scheme of 
the experiment which we had applied to all of our investigations. 

We proposed to the subject a series of words to which it was 
necessary to answer by limited associations according to the 
scheme "whole-part." Together with a comparatively easy answer 
for such a word, we brought about in the subject the setting for 
success, and then unexpectedly connected up in the series of 
stimuli such words which made it either impossible or very diffi- 
cult. These words, presented separately, might be met with refusal 
on the part of the subject; in a series of fairly easy stimuli, 
however, they bring about attempts to find the corresponding 
answers, and these always produce that conflict which we sought. 

In a series of fifteen students (age fifteen to thirty-five) we 
used the following list of stimuli : 

1 house 7 court 13 dress 19 salt 

2 forest 8 family 14 leg 20 boat 

3 knife 9 garden 15 letter 21 mouth 

4 chair 10 story 16 boat 22 flour 

5 steppe ii moon 17 chest 23 spectacles 

6 mountain 12 stick 18 hat 24 pain 

25 package 

An analogous series was used in thirty neurotics ; the results 
of this control series coincided throughout with the first, and 
will be considered in another context. As a control our first series 
was used twice; for the first time the instruction was given to 
react to any part as a whole (series A), and for the second time 
it was complicated by the prohibition to repeat again answers 
already given in the first series (series B). 

A detailed psychological analysis shows us that the conflict 
here differs from the conflict of the setting not only by the con- 


crete conditions of the experiment but in the structure itself. 
Whilst the typical part of that conflict was the collision of the 
language setting and the inhibition of the prepared answers (often 
in the tendency described by us to translation, etc.), in the con- 
flict of defection all the main points are contained precisely in 
the prepared answer. We can say that the conflict came into 
being much earlier here, and is contained not in the withholding 
of the prepared answer but in the inhibiting intention, colliding 
with the absence of the adequate reaction. 

If in the first case the conflict is most often manifested in the 
speech and motor spheres, then in the given case we usually have 
a conflict of the active quests, meeting the impediment, and the 
absence of a ready decision of the prepared speech impulses is 
most often characteristic for this series. 

Precisely this conflict of excited activity with the impossibility 
of finding an adequate reaction is typical for the given process ; 
only where this activity is present, have we the actual conflict 
and the actual appearance of some of the affective traces ; in those 
cases in which the subject refuses to try, as in an impossible 
problem, there is no conflict, and the neurodynamics of the sub- 
ject remains undisturbed. Only when there is a possible path of 
activity can we get a conflicting process; without this activity 
we may get a trauma but not a conflict. This activity may have 
a more or less definite form, it may be reflected in a general 
intention or in a special impulse, but the actual conflict is possible 
only in the field of excitation, met with in the motor sphere. 

This position is fully reflected in the structure of the accom- 
panying motor processes. Figure 59 illustrates these two cases. 

We present to the subject two provocative stimuli, which is 
not an easy problem. In both cases, after some time, the subject 
refuses ; he says he does not know which word is an adequate 
answer in the given case. However, the psychological picture of 
refusal is in the two cases very different. Our first subject imme- 
diately decides that it is impossible to choose a part to the word 
"flour," and he makes no attempts ; the second, on the contrary, 
thinks that he has a fully adequate answer to the word "moon," 
and only after unsuccessful trials to find it does he refuse. The 
structure of both processes differs widely. In the first case we 
do not have any signs of a conflict ; the subject refuses to decide, 
not making an attempt to find a word, and the perfectly calm 
motor system indicates that we have no proper conflict here. The 
structure of the reactive process in another of our subjects is 
entirely different; already after 1.5" the accompanying motor 



curve shows considerable excitation, beginning with frequent ac- 
tive intentions, not reaching, however, any considerable develop- 
ment and going over after its restraint into a diffused tremor. 
The structure of the reactive process is here, thanks to the accom- 
panying motor reactions, fairly clear : the beginning activity col- 
lides with the absence of the adequate reaction ; the intention is 
inhibited, not having found an adequate exit. Precisely this con- 
sequence of the conflict spreads over into the irradiated excitation 
which is expressed in the tremulous, disturbed curve. 



R, o 51 




The disorganisation of the behaviour is the consequence of an 
inhibited adequate exit of activity ; a comparison of the two cases 
confirms us in the view that the affect can come only from a 
conflict arising in the active sphere. Again by the synthetic path, 
we approach one of the most important proofs connected with 
the mechanics of the disorganisation of human behaviour. 

A closer examination shows us that the disturbance obtained 
in this case actually brings about the mechanism of conflict in 
the intentional sphere. In most of the acute cases we see this 
and also the character of the speech process; not every time, 
however, does a difficult stimulus produce in the subject a direct 
and calm refusal, coming after an interval; much oftener we 
obtain a direct excitation of the speech apparatus, the subject 
repeats the word given him, pronounces it clearly, gives many 


evidences of its confused phases, and, meeting with an obstruc- 
tion in the decision of the problem "in his mind," he tries to 
decide it by words directed to the difficulty, and there is a dis- 
organisation of the speech process itself. 

Subject M. 24 pain 20.0" well . . . pain . . . well ... I simply 
do not understand. 

Subject Usp. flour 15.0" well I don't know, I do not know, 
I will not do the reaction. 

All such examples show us that the process is characterised 
here by the production of activity and a direct transfer of excita- 
tion to the speech sphere. The difficulty, the transfer to the setting 
of success, does not give an organised intellectual decision of the 
problem, and the consequent influence of the decision in the 
speech reaction, but directly connects with the speech, and gives 
to all of the processes a diffused, inhibitory character. 

All these symptoms of diffused excitation of the speech apparatus 
stand out with especial clearness in those cases in which we use subjects 
for the experiment having an insufficient vocabulary for verbal thinking. 
We conducted this series of experiments with workers from one of the 
Moscow factories, and we obtained very acute symptoms in the speech 
as well as the motor excitability when it was given an unexpected diffi- 
cult stimulus: 

Subject Zak: trough 12.0" trough . . . what to say ... I do not know 
. . . how can I answer . . . round or flat . . . well . . . flat 

Subject Bush: pitch-fork 4.6" pitch-fork . . . how pitch-fork . . . what 
shall I call it ... fork 

Subject Sluish: circle 6.8" circle ... what to say . . . I do not know 
what to say for a circle ... I do not know 

In all these cases the disturbed neurodynamic processes appear 
very clearly. The intention to answer, meeting with an impos- 
sibility to give a ready reaction produces usually a diffused, dis- 
turbed neurodynamics. This disturbance is more intense the more 
stable this intention and the less mobile the intellectual speech 
system of the subject which must find an exit from the conflict 
created. As a rule we rarely meet here with those ready attempts 
to react which were so sharply expressed in the experiments with 
the conflict of the setting; on the contrary, the dispersed motor 
excitation, appearing after the inhibited intention, is a typical 
scheme of the conflict of defection. 

Figure 60 gives us an example of such a disturbance of the 
curve obtained in a subject with defection of verbal culture, in 
whom a difficult problem produced an acute conflicting state. 

The conflict of defection met with in a subject who finds it 



3.0" RED ARMY 

impossible to give an adequate reaction, produces a marked dis- 
persion of excitation in the neurodynamic apparatus ; the impos- 
sibility of an adequate reaction inevitably leads to some transfer 
of the excitation to another motor system, similar to that which 
we described in the investigation of the symptoms of the affective 
state. Generally such transfers and such prolonged forms of the 
neurodynamic disorganisation are not met with in the conflict 
of the setting, where after some fluctuations the subject gave an 
adequate reaction. On the contrary, here we encounter a whole 
series of such cases, and they bring us to the important mech- 
anisms of the disorganisation of behaviour. 

In Figure 61 we present several typical cases of similar motor 
disturbances. They are all constructed according to one scheme, 
and they allow us to investigate the inclusion in the mechanics 
of this form of disturbance. 

In all these cases we see that the disturbance having begun 
with the right hand, very quickly extends over to the left passive 
hand, and is there reflected with marked intensity. In all of them 
the disorganisation shows a marked tendency to come toward 
the end of the latent period, and is connected thus with the 
moment of final refusal from the adequate reaction. Here we 
have the right to think that the symptoms observed are the 
neurodynamic equivalent of the refusal from the adequate reac- 
tion, and they point to that unorganised flow of excitation which 
appears every time that the adequate reaction is delayed, or fails 
altogether. Precisely these disturbances bring out anew the whole 
complex of symptoms which we described in the experiments deal- 
ing with the affective processes, and make comprehensible those 
mechanisms having an affective discharge. 









The scries of experiments, the analysis of which we only touched 
upon, do not show an obvious statistical relation, because the reaction 
of the conflict of defection can be called out not only by words we 
present as crucial, but, indeed, by others, having a personal difficulty for 
the subject. Therefore we give only a short statistical summary of the 
characteristics of this material in Table 24. 


Reaction Time 

Motor Reactions 








in the experiment 
































Our attention is drawn here to the fact that when the average speed 
of the reactions is not very great, then its variation (i.o" = 52%) and 
the number of motor disturbances sharply differentiate this series from 
the usual one of limited associations. A summary of these characteristics 
in relation to the separate stimuli shows that both of these phenomena 
(instability of the reactive time and motor disturbances) are connected 
exactly with those difficulties which the suddenly presented crucial words 
mean for the subject. The number of accompanying motor disturbances 
is increased in the individual cases from 60 to 70%; the fact that only 
a few of them have the character of inhibited attempts to react, and 
the majority are arranged according to the previously given scheme of 
inhibited intention shows that we were right in considering the manifes- 
tation a peculiar type of conflicting processes. 

B. Experiments with Exhaustion of the Chain Associative Series 

We can prolong this conflict of defection into another not less 
simple and attainable situation, using for this purpose a gradual 
fatigue of the associative series. 

The associative series can very quickly call out a fairly acute 
affective tone if we limit its definite borders which appear to be 
quickly exhausted. In that case where the exhaustion of the 
limited series attacks the subject himself very quickly we obtain 
in a marked degree the same conflict of intention with the absence 
of the adequate reaction. The accompanying motor reactions bear 
witness to the presence of a considerable dispersed excitation, 
approaching in its type to the excitation observed in the acute 
affective series. 

Here is a short series in which the subject is given as a problem the 
recitation of a list of the names of different kinds of fish (or birds), 
pressing the pneumatic bulb during each reaction. We chose these 
because for the average subject who is not a specialist and for the 
person living in the city these categories are fairly simple but are ex- 
tremely quickly exhausted. 

We used about twenty subjects, and in a large number of them it was 
possible to see the origin of the conflict in a fairly well-marked way. 
This conflict was reflected as an acute disturbance of the structure of the 
intervals of the chain series on the one hand, and by the sharp disorgani- 
sation of the accompanying motor reactions on the other hand. 

Figure 62 shows the ordinates of the intervals between the separate 
reactions of the chain series characterising the associative series ob- 
tained in our subjects. A single glance is sufficient to establish the fact 
of what we have before us of course not the process of gradually in- 
creasing inhibition and not the process of the limited refusal of the 
reactions. The conflicting character is seen here from the alternating, 
sharply marked portions; the accompanying motor reactions of these 
series which we give in Figure 63 indicate that behind these disorganised 
intervals is the same conflict of the mobilised activity, colliding with 
the defection. 





























The separate delayed impulses, the scattered excitation, having lost 
the regular well-marked movement of discoordination, characterise that 
process which we have just described in our experiments with the conflict 



during limited associations, only carrying it from the unified reactions 
to a chain process, separated by considerable intervals of time. Here we 
again come to a synthetic origin of the model of the phenomenon which 
we have seen so many times under natural conditions. 


R T o. 




HERE we have a similar experiment, possessing, however, an arti- 
ficial character, and we have performed it only because it does 
not fall within an affective field, but it makes use of the most 
simple intellectual processes, to create the skeleton of those symp- 
toms which we are accustomed to see during the affective and 
complex reactions. 

During these experiments we have tried to observe the objec- 
tive symptoms of the acute affects as well as those natural affec- 
tive traces, complexes, which exist in every subject, and may 
by a careful examination become manifest. 

Following in the steps of other authors, we thought that the 
symptoms obtained by us during the reactive and chain associa- 
tions that these symptoms of the accompanying disturbances 
can be attributed to the affective character of the process we are 
studying. We established several general laws for that disorgani- 
sation of behaviour which the affect provokes, and we shall discuss 
them in order to understand those concrete mechanisms which 
explain the affective influence in the associative series. Here we 
met with many difficulties and disagreements. Some of the authors 
studying the affective process averred that the disturbance pro- 
voked by the affect in the intellectual activity was conditioned 
by an "affective emptiness" (affective Leerheit). The affect first 
of all overcomes the higher associative processes and the created 
inhibitory association is the stimulus for the most extreme course 
of the affective processes. Other authors showed that in the affec- 
tive characteristic in the process of the conscious inhibition, of 
the conscious delay of any prepared reactions, and in the conflicts 
of the conscious delays with the subconscious striving to express 
the affective tendency they saw the basis of those disturbances 
which the affect produced in the behaviour of a person. 

All these disputes left little hope for a complete solution; 
primarily because none of them brought forth really objective 
arguments. The futility of the discussions consisted in this: trying 
to explain the definite laws, the authors preferred to operate with 
subjective material, turning away from the objective psycho- 
physiological generalisations. 

The application of the method, reflected in the objective struc- 
ture of the psychological processes, made it possible to examine 
these disputes more closely. The attempts synthetically to create 
the usual symptoms of the affective series gave us the possibility 


of establishing more exactly those of the laws which most fre- 
quently lie at the basis of the disorganising activity of the affect 
and of the complexes. 

Carrying the experiments over to the most simple intellectual 
processes, we established that, at all events, two types of con- 
flicts can create the same symptoms which usually are the result 
of the affects and the affective traces; these two types of 
conflicts were most closely connected with the two types of 

The first of these was the conflict of the setting, which most 
often provoked the delay of the prepared but inadequate reaction. 
The structure of the process connected with it was usually char- 
acterised by those delayed, but perfectly formed, "attempts to 
react," examples of which we brought out above in the correspond- 
ing analysis. The second of these conflicts we observed has been 
described as the conflict of defection; the processes connected 
with it are characterised by a delay of the general intention during 
the absence of the adequate reaction, of the general defection of 
the subject in the face of the problem set before him. The con- 
flict of the setting towards success, with the absence or exhaustion 
of the adequate responsive forms, provoked here in the accom- 
panying motor sphere the phenomenon of delay of the general 
intentional activity, with the subsequent irradiation of excita- 
tion, extending usually over a considerable area and into other 
expressive symptoms. In both of the cases the fundamental fact 
was the delayed activity. In the first of these cases, this delay 
of activity came about after the activity had been formulated 
and prepared as a motor-expressed answer; but in the second, 
the intention was only reinforced by the inhibition, as the former 
was not formulated as a prepared reaction. 

The analysis of the artificially obtained symptoms compared 
with those facts resulting from the analysis of the natural affects 
and complexes confirmed our belief that the mechanism of the 
similar conflict and withholding of the activity is the chief mech- 
anism of the affective processes, and that precisely with it are 
connected those symptoms which are the characteristic signs of 
the presence of the affective process. 

If we analyse our resulting symptoms, in the cases of the 
natural affective , complexes, then we have no difficulty in con- 
firming our conclusion and in establishing that one or another of 
the cases we observed corresponds in its mechanisms to one of 
the described types of conflict. The associated motor method 
makes it possible for us to establish the presence of the affective 



process, and not only this, but it enables us to show to what type 
of conflict it corresponds in its structure. 

In Figure 64 we have such a case illustrating our analysis. The 
first two curves are characterised by the "attempts to react," and 
are fairly well formulated, but restrained. In their structure they 
approach more closely to the first type of conflicts which we have 
described, and we may expect that in the given case some fairly 
well-formulated speech reaction was inhibited by another more 
adequate one. 

r r r r 

,, *. 






The protocol of the experiment confirms this supposition. In 
both cases we actually have a displacement of the already pre- 
pared speech reaction : 

Subject Gl. cupboard 3.6" room ("I wanted to say a definite word, 
but it did not seem to be the right one and so I chose another one.") 

Subject L. given 1.8" enemy ("I recalled the name of an acquaint- 
ance and I wanted to give his family name but it seemed to me unsuitable 
and I gave that of the first one coming into my mind.") 

The experiments with the criminal, those with the suggested 
complexes, those with hysterical patients, furnish us with similar 
cases, all characterised by the displacement of the prepared word 


corresponding to the most complicated emotional setting. The 
structural symptoms, similar to those just described, are charac- 
teristic of all these cases. 

Two successive curves in Figure 64 (C and D) in their type 
correspond closely to that case in which the excitation of the 
intention collides with the absence of the adequate reaction, and 
the conflict appears connected with the delay of the already 
formulated activity. The analysis of the curves in the protocol 
confirm this view : 

Subject Er. square 5.0" Kudrinsky Square ("I recalled the whole 
picture of a very emotional meeting on this square, and I did not know 
what to say, and then I decided to say 'Kudrinsky.' ") 

Subject Er. rough 2.8" fine ("Oi, there is so much here! I remem- 
bered an acquaintance, he was always very rough. There are many un- 
pleasant things connected with this memory.") 

Both types of reaction correspond to two entirely different 
types of the affective process, which are conditioned by the fact 
that the delay in the adequate reaction proceeds from two unequal 
causes, and from a varying degree of the formulation of the 
delayed reaction. If the first case presupposes the delay of an 
already prepared and fully conscious reaction, then the second 
deals with an intended one, still insufficiently formulated in view 
of the primitive diffused affective reception or the isolation of the 
affective experiment from the main part of consciousness unat- 
tainable for quick verbalisation. 

In every case we closely approach to the structure of the affec- 
tive processes and to the characteristics of its fundamental types. 




THE EXPERIMENTS which we have just described have 
shown us by what means it is possible to provoke definite 
conflicting processes, and by the help of them artificially 
to obtain certain concentrated symptoms of disorganised be- 

The methods applied by us, however, could provoke only tem- 
porary excitatory processes, of a comparatively light and transient 
character. We obtained an artificial model of a process analogous 
to a slight actual affect, but we were still far from the experi- 
mental production of the stable affective disturbance, from the 
production of an artificial model of neurosis. 

Several fundamental characteristics stood between us and such 
a stable, well marked destruction of behaviour. First, the con- 
flicts of ours arose within the borders of a very limited system, 
and usually they did not extend into the entire personality. The 
experiment did not arise from beyond the borders of this series 
of very artificial operations, and the failure in the experiment 
was of a partial character, not originating in the failure of the 
given experiment but with the failure of the personality. Such 
an extension of the system in which the conflict might arise 
should have be*en explained by our first researches, if there had 
been before us the question of obtaining a more stable and more 
intense disorganisation of behaviour. 

Contemporary experimental psychology attempted to proceed along 
just this path; and we must look on the experiments of K. Lewin as 
very successful because they effaced the borders of the serious, vital 
acts and of artificial acts obtained in the experiment, and not the fairly 
serious relation provoked on the part of the subject. The problem of 
"the serious experiment" in which "the failure in the experiment begins 



with the failure in life" was extended by Lewin in a series of experi- 
ments, and he, perhaps, was the first in experimental psychology who 
succeeded in artificially producing changes, not limited by the role of 
the experiment, but making contact with the personality itself. 1 

The first factor which complicated our attempts to obtain stable 
experimental disturbances in the behaviour of the personality 
is very closely related to that which we have just discussed. It 
consists in this: that we practically never obtained a fairly im- 
perative system of activity, the delay or limitation of which 
actually should have produced an acute reaction on the part of 
the personality. We tried to attain to this imperativeness by 
artificially creating in the subject a setting to the reactivity in 
a special system (the conflict of the settings), or we attempted 
to create in it assurance through the possible solution of a labori- 
ous and sometimes insoluble problem (conflict of defection) ; we 
used extensively the automatism of behaviour, the automatisms 
creating here one or another collision and delay. However, by 
these means we did not succeed in reaching a complete impera- 
tiveness of those tendencies in the area of which we provoked the 
conflict, and this fact, that many of our subjects were well able 
to adjust themselves to or correct the difficulties set before them, 
indicated that we attained only limited results. These results told 
us, first of all, that the disturbances we obtained were not of a 
stable and intensive character, and before us arose the problem 
of the artificial production of a process closely related to the 
stable affect. We undertook to produce synthetically a complete 
model of a stable neurosis, just as we had constructed a model 
of unified affective disturbances experimentally. We took a model 
of neurosis because in it are found those properties of a stable 
conflict, of a prolonged affective disorganisation of behaviour, the 
study of which we took as our problem. 

All the difficulties which we have referred to might be suc- 
cessfully removed by the help of the hypnotic method. In hypnosis 
we can count on obtaining a conflict of fair stability and intensity, 
not approaching the artificial origin of automatisms and, hardly, 
the artificial limitations of the experiment. Then, that which we 
obtained in the usual experiment by the aid of a prolonged elabo- 
ration of an automatism and its consequent limitation may be 
obtained in the hypnotic state by a direct suggestion. In the sug- 
gestion we have in our hands a measure by the help of which we 
may provoke a tendency of undisputed imperativeness; these 

1 See K. Lewin: Die Entwicklung der experimentelle Willenspsychologie und 
Psychotherapie, 1929. 


tendencies called out by the suggestion are able to create stable 
states prolonged for a rather extended period and not requiring 
special external stimuli for their reinforcement. 

Both of these factors are very favourable for the production 
of imperative forms of activity by means of the hypnotic method, 
which should involve the whole personality, and which should be 
spontaneous and very prolonged. 

The hypnotic method opens up for us some very interesting 
possibilities, capable of helping us in the experimental setting to 
obtain those stable conflicts which are limited in their influence 
by the artificially provoked model of neurosis. 

We may suggest to the subject in a hypnotic state some im- 
portunate tendency, rather obligatory for him and of an artificial 
and foreign character which remains in his subconsciousness ; 
and we create opportunities for the study of the dynamics of 
exceedingly imperative forms of activity, built on the type of 
almost irresistible urges. 

Wishing to study the dynamics of conflicts, we may easily 
cause a collision between our suggested activity and the natural 
setting of the personality ; we may investigate the states in which 
the personality orients himself to the suggested intrusion as to 
something extraneous, and this conflict conditions the deep-lying 
neurodynamic changes. We may further oppose the activity pro- 
duced in the hypnotic state by the subsequent instructions given 
in the waking state, excluding the free manifestation of the former 
activity ; then we have a collision of activities characterised by 
compulsion or tension with a subconscious motive. 

Finally, we can introduce into the psyche of the subject the 
entire conflicting process by suggesting during hypnosis two 
equally obligatory and opposed tendencies: for example, having 
made the subject incapable of expressing something imperative 
for him. 

In all these cases we are able artificially to produce a model 
of compulsion and to oppose it by some psychological measure, 
beginning with a natural reaction of the personality and ending 
with a motor delay called out in a state of hypnosis. It is ob- 
vious that for the artificial creation of acute processes of disor- 
ganised human behaviour, and for a study of its laws, the situation 
of the hypnotic experiment offers many favourable opportunities. 
By means of this procedure the production of exceedingly im- 
perative and stable tendencies through the hypnotic application 
we decided to construct a situation as similar as possible to the 
type of some of the neurotic processes. 


In our method we created artificial states of tensions in order, 
from the beginning, to conceal the neurodynamical basis of the 
natural reactions of the personalities to these states, and then, 
by a succession of measures having inhibited the desires, to obtain 
a stable conflict of maximal strength, closely related in its struc- 
ture to the more acute neurotic states. We changed the psycho- 
logical systems entering into the conflict, and "removed" the con- 
flict we were studying, in order to approach certain general laws 
connected with the disorganised behaviour, to which we shall 
return later. 

The material which we will discuss here was obtained in 1926 and 1927 
in a series of experiments carried on with the collaboration of V. I. 
Zabrezhnev and Varshava. About twenty subjects, who were fairly easily 
hypnotised, were the objects of our investigation in the various experi- 
ments. With many of them we performed quite a number of seances. 

Here especially it would be unwise to use a simple statistical elabora- 
tion of the material; here, more than anywhere else, is applicable the 
clinical method of analysing the results. The fact brought out in the 
experiment is not a statistical entity, but a phenomenon which sometimes 
permits us to draw conclusions leading to general laws, and therefore 
of primary importance. 1 Precisely this position prompts us sometimes to 
analyse the separate parts of the experiments in which we see the reflec- 
tions of the general laws. 


OUR first problem was exceedingly simple. It consisted in the pro- 
duction of a definite tension during the hypnotic state and its 
investigation when it appears in the further behaviour of the 

In contrast to the former investigations and descriptions, we 
introduced a state of tension into a strictly limited situation of 
our experiment and followed the alterations in the structure of 
the psychological and neurodynamical processes which we had 
called out. Precisely such an analysis of psychological character 
and neurodynamic structure of the compulsive state should give 
us the opportunity of an experimental approach to the question 
of how tension introduced into the psychobiological functions acts 
on the general course of the psychical processes, what specific 
reactions of the personality it calls out, and what forms of the 
compulsion can be differentiated. 

The methodological path along which we might go was very 

1 See K. Lewin: Gesetz und Experiments in der Psychologic, Symposium, 


simple; in the hypnotic state we created a definite tendency 
toward a constant origin of one or another complex ; on awakening 
the subject, we let him associate freely, and then we observed how 
this group of tensions, the origin of which was not known to the 
subject, determined the course and structure of his associative 

It appeared to us that our similar experiments might, under specific 
conditions and analysis, explain some purely psychiatric questions and 
directly aid in the elaboration of the problem, as yet so poorly under- 
stood, concerning the structure of the states having to do with com- 
pulsions and tensions. 

In our laboratory, we have already considered the question of the 
structural analysis of the associative processes in the normal person. 
A. N. Leontyev has shown that every emotional complex creates a 
certain tendency to reproduce itself in a chain of associations. We are 
tempted to approach to this well-known fact by an objective analysis, and 
we explained that in different subjects the chain of associations dominates 
the various objective structures, and that this structure depends upon 
the relation of the subject to the affective traces. These exhibit the 
tendency again and again to become manifest tensions in the associative 
series. Already the experiments directly lead to the problem of the 
structure of the compulsive processes; the present investigation, having 
artificially produced states of tension, may bear a very direct relation 
to them. 

In reality, the theoretical interest and practical problems require a 
similar description of the paths by which the states of tension determine 
the given structure of the thought of the personality. This question is 
closely connected with how the personality is related to its own com- 
pulsions, whether it accepts them without a conflict and whether it 
willingly submits to their course, or whether its thinking is elaborated 
as the result of the conflict with the idea of compulsion, its attempt at 
removal and repression. In both cases the structure of the thinking 
process as well as its result are, of course, different. The experimental 
study of the states of tension and their reflection in the intellectual 
process undoubtedly aid us in coming to a solution of the questions 
concerning the structure of every normal, intellectual process. However, 
each intellectual act has its own voluntary structure, built on the mecha- 
nisms of a certain afteraction, of a certain tension; such an urge is 
inherent in every intellectual problem, every unfinished action. An 
intellectual process through its energetic components, represents a certain 
domination of tensions and their expression in the decision of the 
problem in hand. 

As v/e apply ourselves to the experiments dealing with the 
study of the states of tension, two questions arise before us: we 
should like to have the exact facts of how far we had succeeded 
in actually obtaining the imperative urge; and, on the other 
hand, of how the personality orients himself to the suggested 
tendency. If the first problem is under our control, then the sec- 



ond may lead directly to the study of those specific conflicts 
which, in the final analysis, give birth to every neurosis, and lead 
to the pathological reaction of the personality to every tendency 
foreign to it. 

Our experiments here were performed upon ten subjects, stu- 
dents from twenty-two to twenty-eight, in whom a fairly deep 
state of hypnosis could be obtained. 

To our hynotised subjects we suggested that after awakening 
they would have the desire to think of the names of different 
birds. After the suggestion we awakened them and registered a 
series of free chain associations, telling them to say any word 
that they thought of. This series was compared with the free 
associations obtained in the subject during a normal state before 
any suggestion was given. Finally, in several cases, as control, 
we caused the suggested tension to collide with the instruction 
to associate in another direction: for example, to give without 
interruption names of fish, trees, etc. The control experiments 
served in the same way as those in which we told the subject to 
compose definite short stories on some given theme and then 
observed how the suggested tendency blended into an alloyage 
with the consciously built-up, logical structure. 

The results of our experiments were fairly convincing. Almost 
all of our subjects began their post-hypnotic series with the names 
of birds ; all without exception showed the tendency to associate 
with the tension, if not in the first then in the second or third 
links of the free associative series. The data given in Table 25 
indicates that from ten to a hundred per cent of all the speech 
reactions are related to the suggested compulsion. 














% of reactions from 
the suggested tend- 










In the majority of subjects the compulsion is very stable, 
the subject begins to reproduce in the associative series the com- 
pulsive group, not understanding why he does this, or trying 
to rationalise this fact with the explanation given. 

Here is an example which at once illustrates the stability of the 
compulsive reaction in a typical subject: 


Subject Kar. gives, after the suggestion, the following series of free 
associations: winter, jack-daw, sparrow, eagle, kite, rooster, nightingale, 
wood, blackbird, falcon, raven, road, siskin dove. 

After ten minutes we asked again for a free associative series and 
this is what we obtain: 

Forest, wood, bird, goose, duck, sparrow, crow, jack-daw, torn-tit, 
garden, summer, sparrow. 

The compulsive group is fairly stable, although the subject is 
completely ignorant of the actual motives compelling her to asso- 
ciate in the given way. According to her own account she tried 
to explain the series of associations and we can see now the urge 
series is justified by a whole system of confabulations and of 

(This is her account of the second associative series) : "I remem- 
bered when I lived in the city of A. the nightingales sang so beautifully, 
and I listened to them every evening . . ." 

The suggested tension enters here into the structure of the 
personality's experiences, and the spontaneous fabulations prove 
that what we suggested is accepted here as an actual product 
of great interest. 

The suggested compulsion is very stable and we can easily 
verify this by making the subject construct short tales on a given 
theme. In all these tales the group becomes implicated in the 
warp and woof of the story, artfully woven into its very structure. 

1. Suggested theme, "square": 

Subject: "The first thought that came into my mind was: on the 
square they feed the doves." 

2. Suggested theme, "summer": 

Subject: "Gathering mushrooms, raspberries, darnel. ... It was 
pleasant to look at the sunset, to listen to the birds singing, to come 
back home and go to sleep." 

3. Suggested theme, "snow": 

Subject: "It is a winter evening; there 's snow on the street; 
now I must go out to-day; it will be fine if it is snowing in the 
forest; a raven croaks; a very sad memory comes before me." 

4. Suggested theme, "factory": 

Subject: "I do not know what to say. It seems to me very 
strange to-day how the birds pursue me. Well, here in our village 
was a factory, and near it stood a house. There we met, played, and 
from the fields came the songs of nightingales." 

All these experiments showed that, notwithstanding the instruc- 
tions to avoid the theme of the suggested tendency, the subject 
continues to reproduce the group of compulsions, weaving it into 
the structure of his elaborated imagery ; in the beginning the com- 
pulsive character is gradually repeated in the groups uncon- 


sciously ; later appear symptoms showing that we have something 
extraneous (Table 3). Quickly and unexpectedly there is a change 
of mood : "It will be fine if it is snowing/' and "the forest ; the 
raven croaks a very sad memory comes to me." In the last ex- 
ample, the theme is very far removed from that of the compul- 
sion, but the tension finally breaks through, and the subject says 
that he does not know why birds pursue him. 

This example shows that the group of compulsions can de- 
termine the intellectual series and the course of its associations, 
although the subject may not be conscious of it. This fact ex- 
plains why the number of words relating to the suggested com- 
pulsive group may not be large, though, at the same time, the 
whole associative series is constructed under the influence of the 
group of compulsions. 

Here is a typical example: 

Subject Ner. gives an associative series including only twenty per cent 
of words referred to the compulsive group: 

Dinner chicken setting club tram flat crow grain 
pigeon dog chain table bureau milk cottage Yese- 
nin nuts death funeral sparrow street police square. 

At first the compulsive character of the series is hardly notice- 
able; however, it becomes very clear when we analyse the ac- 
count the subject gives of his own associative series: 

"Now I am hungry, and I recall that chicken is very good for dinner; 
then I begin to think about the club and its social life, about my apart- 
ment, and returning home; in the courtyard there are many crows, and 
in the association, I remember Strastnaya Square, where there are 
pigeons which are fed with grain; next I think about the funeral of 
Yesenin and its setting as I saw it there." 

The separate words taken from the compulsive series are not 
accidental inclusions in the freely flowing associative current; 
they are reversed points, its chief elements, and the whole as- 
sociative process not noticed by the subject is precisely ar- 
ranged according to these separate details, behind which is con- 
cealed the suggested tension. 

The picture which we have just described is very similar to the 
picture of the manifestation of the affective complex in the free asso- 
ciative series. There, as well as here, we have a certain degree of tension; 
there as well as here it often appears in the frank origin of the elements 
connected with the complex situation, but the whole series is arranged 
with evident manifestations only in the definite compulsive reactions. A 
considerable difference is seen in that the whole series conveying the 
complex is of a conflicting character, while in our material we do not 
yet see this conflict. 


This series convinces us of the stability of the suggested tension. 
However, it by no means always flows without obstructions, by 
no means does the personality always accept the suggested 
tendency as its own tendency not requiring special inhibition. 
We have observed many cases in which the suggested group 
remains unconnected with the rest of the associative series, when 
it appears there as a foreign body and then the personality be- 
gins to struggle with it, tries not to discharge it, but to inhibit it 
as something unconnected, foreign, onerous. In such cases the 
matter was changed into a completely perceptible conflict, and 
this was clearly reflected in the associative series. 

This reminds us of two typical structures of behaviour, described by 
Jaensch under the term integrated and disintegrated structure of the 
psychical life. The first of these is characterised by this: the personality 
refers to the eidetic [visual] image arising before it and dominating a 
certain part of the compulsion (and from the material of the image these 
types were described). . . . Such an individual is inclined to observe his 
eidetic images with interest, as they appear to him as an integrated 
part of his personality, he tends to connect with them his own creative 
power, and to evaluate them as products of his own free fancies. 

The behaviour of the second type belongs to another group. It 
assumes its eidetic images as somewhat foreign, not integrated with 
the whole personality; they are aliens; he fears them, looking upon them 
as something extraneous overwhelming the picture. This, under certain 
conditions, can be reflected in the whole fabric of his psychical life. 

We shall return to the subject in whom the suggestive com- 
pulsion entered into the conflict with the setting of the personality 
and produced a considerable disorganisation of the psychological 

Subject Zhel in the hypnotic state is given an analogous sug- 
gestion. After awakening we register in this subject a series of 
free associative reactions, and we obtain a picture sharply differ- 
ing from all those examples with which we have operated before : 

house tram magpie divan pillow university plank 
mirror chicken lamp I do not know ... samovar cup 
nightingale flowers leaves water grass I do not remember 
... book conduit. 

An external analysis of this series shows very clearly how 
fundamentally it differs from those we analysed above. The sepa- 
rate parts of this series are characterised by this peculiarity : the 
rapid and unorganised exchange sharply differentiates this series 
from the chain associations usually occurring in the given sub- 
ject. The words relating to the suggested compulsion series enter 


into the general associative current, as a foreign ingredient ; often 
they punctuate the series, which afterwards continues on (plank 
mirror chicken lamb . . . ) ; one gets the impression that 
the subject herself fights against the suggested group, and 
the whole series acquires a peculiarly disorganised character. 
The account given by the subject testifies to the fact that we have 
produced here a process characterised by a conflict and confusion : 

"It was difficult for me to remember any word ... I do not know why 
sometimes there came into my head individual words entirely discon- 
nected with what I was speaking of ... here magpie comes whence I do 
not know. It is not connected with anything that I was talking about." 

Before us we have a process of an entirely different structure. 
While in those cases with which we began our discussion, the 
compulsive group was accepted by the personality and was dis- 
tributed through the whole series, here the suggestions are ac- 
cepted by the personality as something foreign, are inhibited, 
and precisely in this field there arises an acute conflict, causing 
confusion and inhibiting the normal course of the psychological 

Before us are two types of reaction of the personality of a 
group of tensions introduced into the psyche, and two types of 
the compulsive state created by us in the experimental setting. 
It is perfectly natural that both types of the psychological 
processes should be characterised by entirely different neuro- 
dynamics. Though in the first case we have no reason to expect 
a conflicting character of the process nor any marked disorganisa- 
tion of behaviour, in the second instance the suggested com- 
pulsion should inevitably produce a certain affect, and attempts 
to remove it will result in a considerable disorganisation of be- 

We can easily verify this by turning our attention to the study 
of the structure of the integral chain associative series and to 
the character of the accompanying motor reactions. 

From previous works coming from this laboratory 1 we know 
that the structure of the integral chain associative series very 
delicately reflects its psychological peculiarities, and that each 
affect or affective complex is manifested here in marked inhibitory 
separate intervals and disorganisation of their structure. We shall 
choose, therefore, the structure of the associative series introduced 
above, in which the suggested compulsion becomes so intimately 

1 A. N. Leontyev, The Structural Analysis of the Chain Associative Series, 
Russian-German Medical Journal, 1927. 



entangled in the system of the subject's association (v. Subject 
Ner.) and we compare it with the structure of the series. As an 
example of the latter, we shall take the series of subject Ip., 
showing an acutely disrupted character, and ending by a re- 
fusal to continue the associations: 

raven stork goose duck store poverty word time 
Mary Pickford red beyond the sea they flew storks I do 
not want to say anything more . . . (Why do I tremble ! I am shaking so 
that even my hands tremble!) 




If we compare the structure of the intervals of both of these 
series, then we see how much more sharply the conflicting char- 
acter of the latter is reflected in it. Figure 65 shows that the 
regular and only slightly varying character of the successive in- 







F; r No 66 




tervals of the first series is replaced here by the sharply increasing 
inhibition, which markedly differentiates the second series from 
the normal associative process. The conflict of the compulsion 
with the setting of the personality produces here an acute dis- 
organisation of the structure of the associative series, bringing it 
nearer in type to the structure of the acute affective processes. 

The fact that the signs of acute inhibition and finally the 
refusal to react are the results of a very intense conflict is beauti- 
fully shown by an analysis of the accompanying motor activity. 


At the places where the subject refuses to make further answers, 
from the accompanying motor curves (See Figure 66) we see 
the acute tremor of the right hand, and the transfer to the left 
hand with a picture of the irradiated excitation by extension into 
the individual motor systems, present every time that our ac- 
tivity collides with an impassable obstruction. 

Comparing these curves with the static curve of both hands, 
which we get after removing the suggested compulsion (Figure 
66, Curve B), we are convinced that this diffuse excitation was 
produced only by that conflict which was connected with the 
inhibited suggested compulsion. We succeeded in creating a model 
of the compulsive state which further evoked independently those 
conflicts from which usually develops the neurotic tendency, and 
completey destroyed the normal course of the neurodynamic 

If we examine the accompanying motor reactions in all these 
cases where we see before us a conflict of the suggested com- 
pulsion with the general setting of the personality, the funda- 
mental neurodynamic changes connected with this conflict stand 
out before us in strong relief. In the experiments with the ex- 
haustion of the limited series of associations, 1 we frequently saw 
cases where the subject was able to correct in a limited way 
the difficulties met with, by refusing attempts to make further 
associations to the given theme ; but now during the compulsive 
character of these associations this is not possible, and we see 
before us a conflict of considerable intensity. Figure 67 shows 
that here the conflict extends over into the marked disorganisa- 
tion of all the neurodynamic processes, and the analysis of the 
character of similar disturbances permits us to form a conjecture 
as to the structure of the processes having a place here. 

In all of the cases where the suggestion provokes a compulsive 
series quickly becoming exhausted, as, for example, in the curve 
A of the subject Cher, (eagle pigeon what more cock 
nightingale I do not know what next eagle crow pigeon 
guinea kite ), or when the experiment led to a conflict 
between this tendency and the decision to association to 
another theme (as, for example, in Curve B of subject Zver.), 
we obtained a considerable disturbance, making the structure of 
the series distinctly pathological. Both of these instances make 
it possible to understand better those deep neurodynamic dis- 
turbances which are produced by the very intense conflict, and 

1 See Chapter VI, section 3. 



at the same time, to approach experimentally the psychological 
structure of the state of compulsion. 

F,, Ho <>r 


We can make the conflict we have chosen very much more intense, 
if after the suggested tendency we resist by excluding it through instruc- 
tions given when the subject is awake. In a series of control experiments, 
having suggested the tendency to name birds, in the post-hypnotic state 
we told the subject to recite a list of fish or trees. After this we saw 
an acute exacerbation of the conflict. The results were very significant; 
although often, in more than sixty per cent of the cases, the instructions 
given in the waking state became dominant, and the subject began to 
give relatively regular associative series, yet this was attained always 
with considerable difficulty, and both the character of the speech reactions 
(as we see in subject Ip., sturgeon crow . . . ach a crow is not a fish . . . 
duck sparrow what kind of a fish is this! . . . titmouse carp. . .), as 
well as the accompanying motor reactions always indicates an extremely 
severe disturbance associated with such a process. 

This type of conflict usually is accompanied by the presence of 
definitely elaborated impulses, which are then inhibited (Curve B in 
Figure 67 illustrates such an experiment), and this also assures the ex- 
perimenter of the possibility to look in on the processes playing their 
part in the structure before him. 

The experiments with the suggested tendency plainly show 
that the state of compulsion easily provokes a conflict with the 
fundamental setting of the personality ; even though having been 
deprived of the affective contents, they easily provoke a spread 
of the excitation and affects, which is manifested precisely in the 


attempts to overcome these tendencies by inhibition. The more 
imperative the excitement and the tension, the more foreign its 
setting for the subject, the greater the disturbance of behaviour 
we may expect as a result of the collision with the regulating 
systems of the personality. 


IN the clinical practise of medicine it has been frequently op- 
served that the more acute attacks of fear are obtained when we 
try to prevent the patient with the neurosis of fear from com- 
pleting his compulsive activity. 1 This fact leads us to believe 
that just here in the more acute forms of conflict, arising from 
the arrest of the compulsive tendency, we are able to approach 
more closely to the mechanism of the affect. 

After this, as we have said, we can easily describe the process 
of the affective disruption; some fairly powerful (and usually 
connected with the subcortical apparatus) system of activity 
falls under the sway of the inhibition. The conflict arising is the 
more intense the more imperative the arrested tendency and 
the more categorical the inhibition ; the tension produced in the 
neurodynamic system strives to escape along the path of inade- 
quate innervation, the adequate exit being closed, and there is 
thus created the symptoms of an intense diffuse excitation, char- 
acteristic of the affect. 

This very general scheme, however, is necessary in testing the 
experimental material, and we may make a decided step in the 
solution of this problem, if we are able to create artificially such 
an attack of affect, and to produce it in such a situation that it 
would be maximally favourable for the exact study of the 
mechanisms appearing here. 

We can easily obtain a model of an acute affective seizure if 
we add to the suggestion in the hypnotic state some compulsive 
tendency, some categorical suggestion making impossible the 
realisation of the compulsion. For this it is most satisfactory to 
create a type closely resembling motor aphasia as a model; 
we may suggest thinking of certain words, accompanying this 
with the suggested impossibility to pronounce them ; thus we are 
able to produce a state of acute conflict, and we have a case 
where we can follow up the mechanisms appearing here. 

1 S. Freud: Lectures on the Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Volume II, 
page 192. 


In the following series, we proceeded by this method : in order 
to concentrate the affect, we limited our suggestion to only two 
definite words, which would continually arise in the thoughts 
of the subject and which he would not be able to speak. Our 
suggested instruction was this: 

"When you come into the experimental room and sit before the 
apparatus, you will want to repeat two words red and blue, red and 
blue. However, you will not be able to speak them, although they will 
continue to be present in your thoughts." 

In order to test the stability of the suggested inhibition we 
arranged special control experiments in which we first proposed 
to the subject to repeat after us separate words. Among these 
were the suggested inhibitory ones. Secondly, we asked the sub- 
ject to answer questions naming the colour of some object shown 
him or brought to mind. Our chief experiment consisted in giving 
the subject an opportunity to associate freely, repeating suc- 
cessively all the words given him, or, in order to concentrate the 
conflict more markedly, enumerating individual names of colours, 
thus narrowing the circle of reactions and creating conditions for 
the more acute manifestations of the inhibitory tendency. Out 
of the ten subjects tested in this series, seven gave extremely 
marked conflicting reactions, disclosing the possibility for the 
study of the actual conflict in its most intense form ; in the other 
three, we saw a somewhat different picture, showing how, during 
the transfer to the circuitous route, the subject was capable of 
mastering the present conflict. 

We began by testing the stability of the suggestion we had 
given. It is very simple to do this, having made the subject repeat 
a list of words. 

Figure 68 gives typical results of the experiment thus arranged. 
The subject readily repeats the individual words (white white, 
black black), but he refuses to repeat the word "red," inhibited 
by the suggestion ; the accompanying motor system shows that 
in this case the inhibition set in after the intention had begun; 
the form of the curve disturbed by the tremor indicates that the 
excitation inhibited here was resisted, but it conditioned a cer- 
tain disturbance in the motor activity of the subject. 

This disorganisation stands out clearly, when from the simple 
and senseless repetition of words we pass over to the reasoned 
activity, which, however, cannot manifest itself, colliding, as it 
does, with the obstacle due to the suggestion in the hypnotic 





state. When we propose to the subject to repeat after us given 
words, and he cannot do this, we produce in him a state of 
perplexity ; when we ask him to define the colour of things and 
he is not able to carry out such a simple request there arises in 
him a state of affect; by including the suggested inhibition in 
the system of thought-out activity, we can produce an affect of 
much greater intensity. 

In Figure 69 are the results of two experiments done on sub- 
ject Kar. ; in the first of these we propose to the subject to define 
the colour of definite objects, conducting the experiment after the 
suggestion of the inhibited tendency; the second time the same 
experiment is performed, directly after removing the inhibitory 
suggestion. The protocol shows that while the definitely "neutral" 
colours come out without any symptoms of delay (i. grass 1.2" 
green, 2. snow 1.6" white, 3. sand 1.4" yellow), then the 
words presented touching on the crucial response produced not 
only considerable inhibition (4. blood 14." blood is what colour 
...bright red), but characteristic of these cases is the inhibition 
of the intention ; the conflict is of an especially acute form when 
in the succeeding reaction (5. sun 8.4" it is hard to say) ap- 
proximates the usual speech motor expression connected with the 
inhibitory compulsive link (sun red). After removing our sug- 
gestion, all the corresponding reactions proceed without the slight- 
est inhibition, and do not manifest any disturbance in the 
neurodynamic process. 

After this, the disconnected facts become obvious: the free 
associations succeeding the suggestion of the inhibited compulsion 
cannot pass through in an organised way, and their structure 
shows fundamental changes. Already the simple analysis of the 
temporary structure of the chain associative series proves how 




F' t * 6f 


i. GRASS 1.2" GREEN; 2. SNOW 1.6" WHITE; 3. SAND 1.4" YELLOW; 



i. GRASS 2.4 GREEN; 2. SNOW i.o WHITE; 3. SAND 1.2 YELLOW; 
4. BLOOD 1.4" RED; 5. CROW i.o" GREY 

sharply behaviour is disorganised under the influence of the sug- 
gested conflict of the inhibitory tendency. 

Figure 70 gives typical examples of such a marked influence 
of the suggested conflict. If the associative series in a normal 




. No. 7o 






4. CHAIR; 5. CARPET; 6. BED; 7. LENIN; 7a. WELL, i CAN NOT SAY; 8. 
MIRROR; 9. WHITE; 10. BLACK; n. TABLE; 12. SHELVES; 13. BOOKS ... i 

TO SAY...; 1 6. OMITTED...; 17. CLOCK; 1 8. AGAIN OMITTED ... I WILL 


state is characterised by an inconsiderable variation and by a 
regular structure of the intervals (Curve A), then after the sug- 
gested conflict the intervals take on an actutely disorganised 
character, increasing in the individual cases to 12-15", i n the 
course of which the subject vainly searches for an adequate re- 
action (Curve B). The problem to name successively separate 
colours further complicates the process, and Curve C gives an 
acute inhibition, breaking down the series in the seventh reaction. 
This process, characterised by the marked formal disorganisation 
of the reaction series immediately changes, when only we remove 
the suggested conflict; Curve B shows that during the removal 
of the suggestion the associative series begins anew to take a 
completely normal course. 

The speech composition of these series completes this picture, 
indicating by the undisturbed character in the normal series the 
intensely conflicting structure of the series given after the sug- 
gestion of the inhibitory tendency, and the return to the normal 
after removing the suggestion. These facts are indeed very typical. 

The conflicting character of the series obtained is quite obvious. 
The inhibition of the compulsion we produced called out a series 
of considerable disturbances, and gave all the fundamental symp- 
toms which we usually observe in the most severe cases of affect. 
The subject begins the series with the words arising in the con- 
text of her first series, but immediately there ensue the extra- 
signalising reactions (2-3-4), then the naming of the colours 
(9), finally the attempt to say the compulsive word (yA), and 
the refusal. The inhibited compulsion creates here a marked 
limitation of the activity, producing at the end a complete in- 
hibition and rupture of all the speech reactions; well known to 
everyone studying affect and neurosis is refusal from the reaction ; 
Sperrung (blocking) was obtained here in an artificial way. Such 
a conflicting characteristic distinguishes and limits the series ; the 
enumeration of the colours are here persistent trials by one or 
another path to give the compulsive reaction, "red" and "blue," 
and the subject begins to choose colours close to them, in order to 
create confusion where the direct path is unattainable. 

i. Violet; 2. deep blue; 3. green; 4. well, the colour of my dress, I 
can't say the colour...; 5. black; 6. yellow; 7. greyish; 8. again I can't 
tell, I don't know the word; 9. brown; 10. again I've forgotten the col- 
our, I do not know, I've forgotten the colour, but I should know; n. 
rose . . .; 12. I don't know any more. 

Only after removal of the conflicting structure of the series 
do we have a normal course of the associative processes : 



winter always snow frozen Chita aunt letter square 
apartment revolution force Riga science love hap- 
piness corner choir mother. 

From the artificial neurosis and the disrupted structure of the 
associations, we return to the normal course of the associative 
series, and the normal structure of the intervals, indicating that 
the conflict and the disorganisation called out by it remained 

By inhibiting the suggested tendency we produce an acute dis- 
organisation of behaviour ; it is shown in the following the asso- 
ciative processes and their rhythm, as well as their content, 
become acutely disturbed; the ability to give the unified con- 




nected series of associations within the limits of the more or less 
complete intellectual structure is sharply disturbed, the conflict 
is primarily reflected in the appearance of extrasignalising primi- 
tive reactions, acute inhibitions, giving to the series a markedly 
disorganised character. 

It is obvious that behind these there must be concealed serious 
disturbances in the neurodynamical process, and the accompany- 
ing motor system reveals them. From the analysis of the asso- 
ciated motor reactions we see that each approximation to the 
inhibited group of tendencies gives acute symptoms of diffuse 
excitations, of the characteristic disorganisation of the neuro- 
dynamic process under the influence of the delayed intent. 

Figure 71 is a graphic protocol of the experiment which we 


have just analysed. Throughout, it discloses the dynamics of that 
process we are discussing. The neurodynamics of this experiment 
differs widely from that which is characteristic of the normal 
experiment (Curve A). Having begun with fairly normal asso- 
ciated pressures, during the approach to the inhibited link (9. 
white ... curve B), the subject gives the signs of the conflict 
arising here. The curve shows considerable and continuous 
tension, and it is accompanied by a sharp tremor, indicating that 
the adequate exit of the intention did not remain inhibited. Such 
a phenomenon is seen every time that the associated series ap- 
proaches the inhibited group; thus the section "14. dress 15. 
necktie . . . red ! " gives an acute disorganisation of behaviour and 
diffuse excitation, indicating the pressure of the inhibited, un- 
expressed link. The inhibited tendency, not having the possibility 
to be expressed in the suggested group, takes on an acutely 
disorganised neurodynamics, which is seen each time that the 
subject tries to explain the compulsive reactions. 

We come again to one of the fundamental situations of the 
present work: the stronger the activity manifested and the nearer 
it approaches to the motor end, the more marked the disorganisa- 
tion of the neurodynamical process, seen during its inhibition, 
and the more acute the affective discharge is manifested in the 
result of the conflict. 

In our series of experiments the inhibited tendency met with 
two kinds of reactions from the personality; sometimes it pro- 
duced continued trials to say directly that word which the sug- 
gestion introduced into the reaction; at other times the subject 
chose numerous diverse paths, attempting to avoid the inhibited 
tendency by numerous confused acts. Two forms of reaction to 
the suggested tendency constitute the two fundamental forms 
of behaviour in the compulsion artificially produced by us 
in the laboratory ; they conceal entirely different neurodynamical 

During all of our work we never saw a more marked affect 
than that which appeared when the subject tried directly to 
explain the suggested tendency causing the conflict. The dis- 
organisation of behaviour during such attempts takes on very 
acute forms. 

We shall give a typical example. To subject Cher, we give our 
usual suggestion and obtain an associative series characterised 
by continued attempts to give the suggested but inhibited word. 
This series and its motor equivalent is shown in Figure 72. 






Blue . . . blue . . .; i. lion; 2. chicken; 3. table ... for K * (Experi- 
menter: "say it in French"); 4. rouge; 5. blue', 6. rose; 7. yellow; 8. 
cow; g. lion; 10. red; n. red; 12. blue; 13. k l . . . orova (cow); 14. lion; 
15. K . . .; 16. blue; 17. red; 18. blue; 19. white; 20. yellow; 21. horse; 
22. red; 23. 6/we ... I do not know what to say further (glancing aside); 
24. chair; 25. table ... I do not know any more . . . 

Before us is the compulsive tendency, manifested with the 
usual stability. It is true that the inhibition extends only to one 
part of the tendency, spreading to the word "red" ; however, 
exactly in this direction is mobilised the whole activity of the 
subject. Each attempt to overturn this barrier leads only to the 
enunciation of the initial letter of the inhibited word and the 
acute disturbance of the excitation. To this is connected the gen- 
eral disorganisation of behaviour characterising the following 
section of the protocol : 

During the proposition to react to all the words coming into 
the mind, the subject begins spasmodically to try to say some- 
thing, then leaning on the back of the chair he removes his hands 
from the apparatus. At the request of the experimenter to spell 
the word he makes another confused attempt to pronounce it. 
The face becomes red, the eyes tearful, the pulse is markedly 
increased, the respiration irregular, the brow knit in all the 
behaviour are the signs of an acute attack of affect. 

The picture of the acute disturbance of behaviour is not con- 
fined to the attempts to say directly the compulsive word, and 
the subject quickly connects up the attempts with its alliteration 

1 K is the initial letter of the Russian word krasny, meaning red. Translator. 


(8. k . . . orova (cow) . . . 13. k . . . orova) or with a similar colour 
(6. rose) ; however the motor disorganisation is considerably 
shortened only after the decision to pronounce the inhibited word 
in French (4), and further attempts to give the word in the 
course of the series (10, u, 17, 22) ; the remaining urge evokes, 
however, a number of extrasignalising reactions (24, 25) and 
finally, it leads to the absolute refusal to continue. 

From this protocol and from other similar ones it is clear that 
the tendency with the direct attempts to overthrow the barrier 
produces only the discharge of the affect and the acute dis- 
organisation of behaviour, and this is more marked the nearer 
these inhibited attempts approach to the motor terminal. 

This is what makes us turn our attention especially to those 
cases where such direct attempts are confused with the surround- 
ing paths by virtue of which the subject tries to avoid the given 

The analysis of all the protocols shows us that we actually 
obtain a state very similar in its type to the compulsive neurosis. 
Having produced artificially a compulsive but inhibited tendency 
we could observe not only attempts to the direct explanation of 
our instructions but attempts to make a substitution for the in- 
hibited compulsive tendency. In such substitutions our subjects 
show considerable stability, and from all our experiments we 
did not have a single protocol in which such a tendency to sub- 
stitution was not manifested. 

The significance of this problem for our researches impels us to point 
out here the basic types of these substitutions as they appear in our 
subjects. We shall give them in their whole extent, ranging from the 
closest to the tendency to react directly on the compulsion up to the 
most complicated forms of intellectual substitutions. 

1. The closest of the above cases of direct attempts is the substitu- 
tion of the inhibited words by alliterations. This form of substitution may 
be termed secondary; the subject tries here to pronounce the compulsive 
word, but being unsuccessful, gives another word with the same initial 

Thus subject Ak. gives us a series, with attempts to change the re- 
action from the word "blue" (siniy) by alliterations: machine snake 
(smeya) s...hay (seno) Africa s... I do not know what to say 
. . . city house s ... sit (sizhu) . . . pine (sosnd) earth wane grief 
s e 1 1 oak Siberia Asia s . , . pig (svinya). 

In the response the subject indicates that there was continually coming 
into his mind words beginning with "s," but he was unable to explain 
the cause of this. 

2. Substitution by reactions such as extrasignalising or stereptypy 
are seen in our experiments very often. In this case the subject tries to 
get rid of the created tension by a simple removal of the surrounding 


things or by a stereotyped repetition of certain words producing this. 

Subject Zer. gives us such a series with a stereotyped repetition of the 
separate words and the transfer to primitive reactions: 

City village forest village beasts colours beasts 
hares city university first second third fourth fifth 
sixth ... s ... table chair sofa divan. . . . 

All known forms of substitution, from stereotyped reactions to 
alliteration and transfer to extrasignalising forms, appear in this series, 
thus providing a primitive exit for the created tension. 

3. A much more interesting form is represented by the substitution 
of inhibitions close to the inhibited group. Thus in the prohibited com- 
pulsive reactions, "red," "blue," our subjects substitute similar colours, 
repeating the words, "rose," "deep blue," "violet," etc., trying to express 
the prohibited colours in other terms: 

Subject Kar. (removal of colours) : deep blue green rose black 
violet greyish. . . . 

Subject Bas. (removal of colours: inhibited red) brown green yel- 
low raspberry . . . (subject bites the gums, and opens the eyes wide) I 
forgot . . . how is it I do not think . . . rose white-carmine orange . . . 
violet. . . . 

This scheme of substituting similarities is often met with, and gives a 
picture constantly appearing in neurotic compulsions. We have had 
many opportunities to observe it in other situations: thus in the sug- 
gestion to name birds, one of our subjects gives a substitution series 
showing the same mechanism: 

Subject Zhil. house tram divan chicken lamps straw I do not 
know . . . nightingale flowers . . . pencil . . . butterfly . . . The last reaction 
illustrates this rule. 

4. The last form of substitution is more complicated. In this case 
there is not direct use of the prohibited word by one similar to it, but 
the subject chooses some image which runs through the whole associative 
series, so that here it becomes difficult to notice the direct appearance 
of the suggested tendency. 

Here is such an example: 

After the suggested inhibitory compulsive group "red-blue," Subject 
Bas. gives this free associative series: 

Plank pencil armchair handkerchief lamp old man tram stable 
yellow garden wall fire handkerchief. 

We cannot immediately see in this series anything of the suggested 
tendency besides the repetition of the word "handkerchief." The ac- 
count of the subject reveals, however, the connection of this series with 
the suggested compulsive tendency. 

"I was always thinking of our red Turkish handkerchief." 

The structure of the series is now clear to us. The direct manifestation 
of the inhibited compulsive links are substituted here by a fixation of 
a certain image, which begins to replace the inhibited group and be- 
comes the compulsion. 

These examples have been given in order to show that the re- 
action obtained mobilises the whole personality of the subject and 
permeates the series, sometimes being very complicated, and in 


its structure approaching the model of the compulsive neuroses. 
A careful study enables us to draw important conclusions from 
the analysis of these states, leading to the existing mechanisms 
of affect and to the neurotic destruction of behaviour. 

We arranged the given material in the order of the known 
movement of the subject's inhibitory activity: if in the first in- 
stance we saw attempts which almost never went to their motor 
terminations and were inhibited after the subject had begun to 
say the forbidden word, then in the further cases this conflict 
was still more displaced from the motor sphere, the activity re- 
mains further removed from it and the entire difficulty is trans- 
ferred from the motor apparatus to the connecting: our subjects 
discard the attempt to break through the motor dam and they 
begin to seek new connections, new speech exits, new replacing 
images. The last examples which we have given refer especially 
to this form of exit : the subject does not try to pass over to the 
direct motor innervations ; instead of this he directs all of his 
strength toward the discovery of an adequate intellectual exit 
to replace the prohibited path by a new one. The conflict is dis- 
placed from the motor sphere to the connecting one, and the 
substitution begins to have here an entirely new character ; from 
the senseless substitution by alliterations, which are only trials 
to pronounce, as it were, the beginning of the word, the subject 
goes over to a rational replacement of the name of the forbidden 
colour by others instead of red, rose, carmine, violet, or to the 
arrangement of the replaced image "red handkerchief": these 
replaced images help to determine the subsequent associative 
series, replacing the peripheral conflict by a central reconstructed 
series. Without doubt, here we dealt with two very different com- 
pulsive states, and it is very important for us that we had two 
special structures of the neurodynamic processes. 

The movement of the inhibition from the motor system to the 
connecting, coupling-up one relieves the personality from the open 
conflict and avoids that affective rupture which is inevitable in 
the presence of inhibition of the already formulated compulsive 
activity. All our material makes it possible to draw such a con- 
clusion. Our subject almost always discards the direct attempts 
to utter the forbidden word, and passes over to its central re- 
placement because this saves him from the acute neurodynamic 

In Figure 73, we give the neurodynamics of two cases; in the 
first of these the excitatory compulsive activity should reach to 
its motor terminal, and thanks to the suggested prohibition, the 





15. CAKES [keks] ; 16. klopit. 

conflict was produced in the speech sphere, with typical replace- 
ment by alliteration. 

The observations obtained after the suggested compulsive, but 
inhibited word, "kamen" (stone) gave us a series with a typical 
motor conflict: 

Subject Ant. . . . i. iron; 2. mountain; 5. spring; 8. sweet; 9. autumn; 
10. kapusta (cabbage); n. kisly (sour); 12. kartofel (potato)...; 13. 
kapitan (captain); 14. &...&...; 15. k . . . keks (cake); 16. klo... 

The accompanying movements of this series point to strenuous 
attempts to react, to inhibition and to considerable disorganisa- 
tion of behaviour, similar to that which we saw in the above case 
of Subject Cher. (Figure 72.) 

The series characterised by a central replacement pursues an 
entirely different course; Curve B represents the accompanying 
movements of that portion of the series of Subject Bas., which 
go exactly along the line of the substitution of the prohibited 
colours by those similar to them : 

6. rose 7. white 8. carmine 9. orange . . . 

We see that the central exit of the prohibited link is not ac- 
companied by any remarkable motor disturbances, and that the 
chief outflow of activity, which is registered by the accompany- 
ing movements, remains undisturbed and does not show any con- 
flicts. The substitution of the peripheral conflict by the central, 


connecting conflict, displaced from the motor system into the 
central one, carries with it considerable alteration in the course 
of the neurodynamical processes. 

We come here to important questions of the structure of the 
conflicts, and these we shall take up in the following chapter. 




WE HAVE come to the very important questions con- 
cerning the structure of the disorganisation of human 
behaviour, and the location of the conflicting process. 
All the experiments which we have discussed until now bring 
us to the conclusion that the mechanism of the conflict plays the 
chief role in the disorganisation of human behaviour, and that 
the delay in the excitatory system of activity may easily call out 
the affect and lead to a disturbance of behaviour. But now we 
can ask ourselves: where must the conflict arise in order that the 
behaviour may be disorganised maximally ? At what moment, 
in what stage of the arising activity, does the operative conflict 
have a maximal chance to cause a rupture of the organised be- 
haviour ? 

Before us is the most important question of the structure of 
the conflicting act itself and of the mechanics of its influence. 
This we are able to solve only by special experiments, dealing 
with the movements of the conflicting process, and with the 
artificial approach of the conflict to various stages of human 

Our former experiments give some clues to the solution. The 
experiments with the natural affect and with the artificial con- 
flicts convince us that the disorganisation of behaviour arises only 
in the case where some fairly strong system of activity is sub- 
jected to inhibition ; control cases showed that when a more 
difficult problem is given the subject, the conflict and the dis- 
organisation of the neurodynamic processes connected with it 
come about only if the subject attempts to decide the problem 
and the obstacles inhibit these trials through several levels of the 



beginning activity. 1 The cases of simple refusals to attempt the 
problem, without a mobilisation of the activity, seldom cause a 
conflict or any kind of disturbance. 

However, we have far from sufficient evidence to enable us to 
define the limit of activity of those disturbances giving rise to 
the conflict in the behaviour. In our experiments we have seen 
cases which indicate at a glance that the structure and intensive- 
ness of the disorganisation of behaviour take very unequal forms 
in dependence upon what limits the activity we have called out 
reaches, and at which levels it becomes inhibited. 

We can distinguish in our material at least three fundamental 
instances, characterised by very different structures of the con- 
flict and giving entirely different states of affect. 

First, the excited activity of the subject may almost reach 
the final reaction ; it may assume a concrete character, prepared 
for expression, and be inhibited only in the last moment at the 
very end of the motor act. 

In this case we have to do with inhibition in the diverted motor 
system, and we may speak of a conflict during direct confusion 
in the system, Beinahe-Entladung. Examples of such conflicts 
were seen in our experiments with the "conflict of the setting, " 
in which the word prepared for utterance suddenly appears unfit 
for the reaction and contradictory instructions. Similar experi- 
ments in dogs in more acute forms have been demonstrated by 
us in the cases of inhibited compulsion, where the subject collides 
with the marked obstruction during direct trials to establish the 
compulsive speech reaction. (See Subject Cher. Figure 72, and 
Subject Ant., Figure 73 A.) 

Second, there is an entirely different structure in those cases 
where the general intention of the subject is not formulated as a 
reactive possibility. In these cases the beginning activity condi- 
tions only a general tension and flows over into the tonic innerva- 
tions, not finding for itself, however, adequate conditioned re- 
actions. Such cases are seen in the conflict of dejection, such a 
mechanism is often met in the acute affective reactions which 
are characterised by the rupture and disturbance in the regularity 
of the speech activity, and, hence, in the decreasing possibly ade- 
quate reactions. 

Third, in this case the characteristic feature is that the conflict 
moves from the effector system into the linking or coupling-up 
system, which has to do with making connections; the subject 

1 See control experiments with the conflict of dejections; Chapter VI, and 
Figure 59. 


does not mobilise his direct activity in order to attempt imme- 
diately to overcome the difficult problem. For the direct motor 
attempts he substitutes intellectual detours, and his reaction is 
characterised by the fact that the entire conflict and all the diffi- 
culties connected with it, play a role in the central, linking-up 
apparatus. Such a process is often seen in experiments with in- 
hibited tension. This will be the subject of our following investi- 
gations. 1 

All these forms of conflict cause very unequal disturbances in 
the flow of the neurodynamic processes. The maximum dis- 
turbance in behaviour was produced by the conflict of the first 
order ; its traces gave rise to strong inhibitions, although there 
were no perceptible signs of disorganised motor reactions. We 
became convinced that the closer the conflict moves towards a 
motor termination, the more active and acute are the resulting 
forms of the disorganised neurodynamic process. On the contrary, 
the conflict transferred from the motor sphere into the connecting 
system becomes isolated, so to speak, from direct manifestation 
and from any direct influence on the disorganisation of behaviour. 

This statement is one of the most convincing and fundamental 
conclusions which we arrive at in this stage of our investigation. 
It suggests many additional questions about the structure of the 
reactive processes, to which we shall give our detailed attention in 
the third part of this work. Obviously, the inequality of the affect 
is called out not only by the proximity of the first forms of the 
conflicts to the motor sphere and the complete separation from 
it of the conflicts in the connecting system, but it is clear that 
between both systems there exists a great functional difference, 
and that on the frontier between them there are several "barriers" 
obstructing the reflection in the motor system of any conflict 
originating in the connecting system. 

We shall try, however, to describe the more detailed facts 
confirming this view in order to consider the following con- 

The experiments we have performed, in a certain sense, force 
us along the path of further investigation: the obtained facts 
call to our mind neuropathological phenomena connected with 
the confusion of the intellectual processes and speech. This 
makes us think that in the control cases we may be able to 
find many further facts necessary for the establishment of the 
mechanisms interesting us. Many processes which we have ob- 
served in the experimental conflicts bring us strikingly close to 

1 See Chapter VII, Section 3, and Figures 71, 73-8. 


the phenomena of aphasia. It is true that everything we have 
seen so far can be thought of as a series of phenomena remind- 
ing us of aphasia only in their separate neurodynamic mani- 
festations; but in the given investigation our conflicts play the 
deciding role, depending upon their proximity to it. 

The described forms of conflict have their extremes in two 
types of disorganised behaviour, which correspond most closely 
to aphasia of the motor and sensory amnestic types. In a typical 
model of concentrated motor aphasia we see what we have just 
referred to in the case of the artificial tension with the inhibited 
result. These cases give us, as a rule, a maximal destruction 
of behaviour. The reverse type the conflict reminding us of 
amnestic aphasia we most often see in the conflict of defection, 
where the subject is not able to choose or "remember" the words 
suitable for the occasion. Finally, experiments with the conflict 
of the setting show, in the cases already described, overcoming 
of the obstacle of the unexpected word given in another lan- 
guage, and it dominates the process according to the structure 
of the remembered sensory aphasiac phenomena. The neuro- 
dynamics of these cases are entirely different from those that 
we see in the open motor conflict, and we may now consider this 
question: what kind of neurodynamic changes are seen in the 
displacement of the conflicting processes? 


APHASIA is an ideal disease for the study of these problems. 
Not giving any constant disturbance of the neurodynamics, and 
often accompanied by few changes in the practical behaviour 
of the patient, aphasia enables us to observe the acute forms of 
conflict just as the patient is returning to his normal speech 
activity. The conflict during the motor paraphasia and during 
the cases of amnestic aphasia often has an acutely expressed 
character "of the conflict at the motor termination" ; the patient 
understands the word that he wants to say, sometimes pro- 
nounces the first letter but is not able to utter the word, owing 
to the inhibition during its final formation and pronunciation. 
This is why it is possible to observe in the general behaviour, 
and excitability, an acute disorganisation of the neurodynamics, 
evidently depending upon the actual speech conflict. 

First, in aphasia it is possible to observe exact fixation of the 
natural conflicts which are manifested here in an unusually well- 
defined and isolated form. 


However, along with this there is a second possibility, also 
of a purely experimental character. We can try to move the 
conflict in the aphasiac, carrying it from the motor sphere to 
the receptory-connecting area. We can arrange the experiment so 
that the patient meets with the obstacle not during the reaction 
to the word, but during the reception and elaboration of the 
proffered stimulus and the search for an adequate reaction. Those 
changes in the neurodynamic processes which we have obtained 
in this case will be especially instructive because they take place 
in a motor conflict belonging to the subject, depriving his be- 
haviour of its usual organisation. 

We shall begin with an analysis of those changes which occur 
in the behaviour of the aphasiac with the speech conflict. Out 
of a series of ten cases of amnestic aphasia, upon which we 
performed our experiments, we shall limit our discussion to only 
those of them showing fairly uniform results. 

We shall describe those cases of amnestic aphasia upon which most 
of our experiments were done: 

Patient A. Kut., 20 years old, a peasant boy having finished a country 
school. Eight months before the experiment there was a marked dis- 
turbance of speech, beginning with complete dumbness, and then grad- 
ually passing over into a clearly expressed disturbance of the amnestic 
type. It was easy for him to speak entire phrases and sentences, but 
very difficult to say single words. He could readily count up to 8, but 
he laboured considerably in repeating the figures backwards. 

Patient Pal., 56 years old, housewife. An analogous picture of aphasia 
but in a more severe form. She is able to speak several phrases, but finds 
it difficult to pronounce the separate words. 

Patient Alt., 52 years, housewife. She shows the same symptoms as 
the above except in a more marked degree. 

Patient Avt., 47 years, an engineer, highly educated. Aphasia of the 
amnestic type. He converses freely, complains that his memory is weak, 
that he forgets many words. There is great difficulty in naming objects. 

Patient Gen., 54 years, showing serious aphasiac symptoms. He can 
hardly talk connectedly; he says parts of phrases, he often unexpectedly 
utters an entirely different word from the one he desires to say. There 
is marked retardation in naming objects and in repeating words. 

Patient Yak., 55 years. Amnestic aphasia with forgetting of separate 
expressions and words, but preservation of the ability to make con- 
nected conversation. 

We limit ourselves to only a few patients; the material especially 
connected with aphasia, we have discussed elsewhere. 1 As the starting 
point for our analysis we shall take the patient Kut., according to Head, 
an especially interesting case of aphasia, where at an early age all of the 
conflicts of interest to us have a much more energetic tonus. 

1 Lebedinsky und Luria: Die Methode der abbildenden Motorik und ihre 
Anwendung an die Nerwenklinik. Archiv f. Psychiatric, Bd. 87, 1929. 


We can establish our analysis on the basis of the general neurody- 
namics underlying the aphasiac conflict. A series of control experiments 
were made to determine the simplest neurodynamic processes outside of 
the speech activities. 

The experiment with the simple reaction shows that the motor 
system of the aphasiac beyond the speech activity presents 
hardly any deviation from the normal. A series of special dis- 
turbances in the structure of the reactive processes will be 
discussed later. Figure 74 illustrates the simple reactions of 
Subject K. to sound signals. Besides a slight tremor of the right 
hand and an intense one of the left, we do not meet here with 
any perceptible declination from the normal ; these symptoms 
of increased motor labileness are seen, as a rule, in normal 


Tapping also gives in this subject, as well as in many other 
cases of paraphasia, practically normal results. 

Entirely analogous facts are obtained during the inclusion 
of a simple activity connected with the apparatus of articulation. 
We began by asking the patient to repeat definite sounds or 
syllables, while he simultaneously presses with the right hand; 


we investigated first not the speech but the primitive vocal 

The results may be seen in Figure 75. This figure contains 
a section of the experiment in which we tell the subject to 
repeat after us the sound "a" accompanied by pressing the 
bulb ; in part B he should similarly repeat exactly the syllable 
"va." Tn both cases the process occurs without perceptible diffi- 
culty, and the neurodynamics reflected in the motor curves indi- 
cate that the simple vocal reactions are not yet connected with 
the conflict which we are accustomed to observe in aphasiacs. 


The first manifestation of the aphasiac conflict connected with 
the simple vocal activity is seen not during its activity, but at 
the time of the first conflict of the setting, which comes out 
very clearly in this subject in the experiments with the simple 
exchange of vocal coordination. 

Every one of the several repetitions by the aphasiac of the 
vocal reactions creates in him a definite habitual setting; and 
when after the enunciation several times of the syllable "ma" 
we propose to the aphasiac to say the hardly less easy syllable 
"pa," he comes upon a definite obstruction as a consequence of 
the articulative setting we have created to the syllable "ma." 


Thus there is evoked a more primitive one of the aphasiac con- 
flicts, which is nothing else than the conflict of the setting mani- 
fested with great facility. In Figure 75 we give the motor picture 
of this conflict, clearly indicating that the inhibition of the 
active setting brought about by us in the actual motor terminal 
produces an acute motor excitation, and for a considerable period 
of time disorganises the behaviour. One can easily understand 
that this disorganisation attains its maximum when we pass 
over to the pronunciation of words difficult to the subject. This 
fact, that after the setting which we have created, the subject 
is not able to pronounce the word which only recently he could 
pronounce, induces us to conjoin with the acute motor conflict a 
still deeper affective conflict, and the disorganisation of behaviour 
in these cases reaches its most marked form. In Figure 77 we 
demonstrate such a case: Subject K. could easily pronounce after 
us the word "ruiba" (Russian for fish), and the accompanying 
motor reaction shows that this pronunciation occurs without any 
perceptible conflict. Then it was sufficient to give him the word 
"loshad" (Russian for horse), and the sudden change of setting 
made it impossible to pronounce this word, a perseverative 
tendency with the former word produced an acute motor con- 
flict, and this caused a considerable disorganisation of behaviour 
with all the symptoms of an unusually intense spread of exci- 
tation. When after several minutes we succeeded in getting an 
adequate repetition of the word "loshad," we could observe the 
reverse phenomenon; the sudden transfer "ruiba" created an 
extremely sharp conflict, resulting in a marked spreading of the 
excitation and a complete disorganisation of behaviour. 

If the conflict of the setting appeared in the aphasiac in 
marked degree, then no less marked was the phenomenon of the 
conflict of defection, connected, however, with the inability to 
name the given word, though well known to the subject. As in 
that case, we had here a clear example of the "conflict at the 
motor end," and Figure 78 shows that it was inevitably accom- 
panied by an intense peripheral excitation and complete disin- 
tegration of the organised form of behaviour. 

We have repeatedly seen that our conflict produces not only active 
motor disturbances (that would naturally follow from the fact of the 
active speech tendency which accompanies the motor reaction), but 
those mechanisms of the transfer of the motor excitation which we have 
already had an opportunity to observe in the study of affects and con- 
flicts. These cases of transfer were obtained very easily when the move- 
ment of the right hand was not accompanied by the speech reaction; 



PA ; 9, PA PA; 10, RA PA. 

2 7 6 






ft 4,. hi*. 1* 





the mechanisms of the reflection of the affective processes in the passive 
expressive systems described by many authors, beginning with R. Som- 
mer and ending with 0. Lowenstein and his school were obtained here 
in the actual conflict of the aphasiac. 

Such a case is shown in Figure 79. In Part A of this figure, we have 
an example of how the repetition of the word "krupa" (Russian for 
grits) after the setting created to the word "ruka" (Russian for hand) 
is reflected in the active accompanying motor system. Curve B of the 
same figure demonstrates a similar obstruction in the passive motor 
systems. At the same time that we get typical discoordinations in the 
first case, produced by the increasing changes reflected by the active 
functions of the right hand, in the passive motor systems these condi- 
tions caused marked phenomena of transferred and considerable tremor 
of the left hand. 

In all these cases the conflict we produced continued through 
to the motor termination ; the subject well knew what he should 
say, but the confusion of aphasia made this impossible, destroy- 
ing the reaction during the very act of enunciation. The extremely 
active disturbances which are observed here, we are inclined 
to ascribe to the fact that the conflict arises in direct proximity 
to the motor area, and that precisely here, more than in any 
other case, we see inhibition during the Beinahe-Entladung, i.e., 
during the more active moment of the reactive process. 

After we have been convinced of the exceedingly well defined 
manifestation of the conflict, distributed in direct approximation 
to the motor area, we turn with great interest to the experiments 
on the "displacement" of the conflict. Our problem here consists 
in transferring the obstruction from the motor part of the process 
to the receptory, or the connecting area, and to investigate the 
neurodynamic changes occurring with such a movement of the 
conflict. We should consequently produce in the subject a tend- 
ency to decide the problem given him (not inhibiting his answer 
from the very first), according to his capabilities in the receptory- 
connecting system. 

We can determine this by a very simple experiment. We 
show the aphasiac various pictures and instruct him to name 
the objects portrayed. In certain cases we can make the pictures 
easily understood, but we may make difficult the process of 
naming them in its motor part; in other cases, we may put 
obstacles in the path of the receptory process by giving pictures 
which are not clear in their outlines, or which are unfamiliar 
to the subject. In both cases he is asked to name the object and 
to accompany the naming with the pressure of the bulb. 

Many experiments make it clear that the conflict moved into 
the receptory area exhibits the same phenomena of excitation 





and disorganisation of behaviour which were characteristic of 
the cases of motor conflict. 

In Figure 80 two such examples are shown. In Part A of this 
picture is given the reaction of Subject Alt. to a picture con- 
taining a word difficult to pronounce ("paravoz" Russian for 
locomotive) ; the motor symptoms of this reaction are illus- 
trated by the sharp disturbance of excitation analogous to cases 
which we have already seen (Reaction 12). Reaction 13 is en- 


tirely different; here we show the subject a sketch of a bird's 
head, drawn very badly; the subject tries to understand this 
picture but finally refuses to answer. We bring out a completely 
analogous process in Subject Avt. (Curve B of Figure 80) pre- 
senting to him this time an easily named picture (Reaction 7), 
and then one incomprehensible for him a rhinoceros which 
he tries to identify as a pig or a bear, not reaching any final 
decision, however. 


F r No. *o 







In both of the cases we see the same neurodynamic picture; 
the displacement of the conflict into the receptory part of the 
process has been completely deprived of the neurodynamic dis- 
turbances which were so active during the conflict arising in 
direct approximation to the motor terminal. 

In our opinion, the receptory-connecting process is separated 
from the motor sphere by some kind of "barrier," impenetrable 
to the conflict arising in the prepared central process; on the 
other hand, it is possible that the prepared connecting system 
itself is constructed according to another principle, as a result of 
which the fluctuations arising in it do not produce acute neuro- 
dynamic disturbances, at least in the active motor sphere. 

These suppositions bring before us many serious problems 
concerning the structure of the conflicting act and the structure 
of the neurodynamic process itself. Before venturing further 
criticism, however, of this position, we should be fully assured 
that in the given case no conflict coming from the central 
apparatus and, in a certain sense, not having arisen in the motor 
system, was present. 

Experiments with definite complex pictures were not convinc- 
ing enough for this purpose. They continue to leave some doubt 
as to whether in these cases there was, in general, called out 
some activity inhibited in the very first of its stages. We must 
resort to additional experiments which should fully remove these 


OUR problem requires that we obtain in one and the same 
subject, and, as far as possible, in one and the same process, an 
inhibition of the speech reaction at the very beginning of the 
receptory, as well as at the end of the motor, phase; we must, 
consequently, try to create a model of sensory and motor aphasiac 
phenomena in one and the same subject, guaranteeing in both 
cases the presence of excitation in its active tendency to react, 
and, when possible, obtaining the movement of the conflicts 
during the course of the experiment. 

For the solution of this problem, we chose a very simple 
approach. In order to create speech conflicts of the most varied 
structures, with general preservation of the intellectual processes, 
it was sufficient to perform associative language experiments 
in a subject who was far from being proficient in the given 


language. With such experiments in the foreign language we 
could reckon on obtaining an acute conflict of defection, pro- 
duced by a collision of the setting to the associative response 
and the insufficiency in the speech inventory. We could surely 
expect here that the structures of the conflicts which we had 
produced were far from being equal. In certain cases the con- 
flict was the result of the fact that the subject was not able 
to remember the name of the given word in the foreign lan- 
guage, and the prepared reactive image did not find its motor 
formulation. We shall deal with the process which, in its struc- 
ture, is similar to amnestic aphasia. Other cases will be char- 
acterised by the fact that the word in the foreign language 
presented to the subject is not understood by him; precisely 
at this point we may count on finding a marked fluctuation con- 
nected with attempts to comprehend it, and the process which 
results will in this case have all the characteristics of the re- 
ceptory conflict. We do not see anything reminding us of the 
model of aphasia of the sensory type. 

We do not know of any experiments devoted to the investigation of 
the associative activity in people not thoroughly understanding the lan- 
guage in which they are required to associate. Classical psychology always 
required a complete knowledge of the language, and only under these 
conditions did it consider possible the study of the associative processes. 
The study of the speech reactions, however, in a foreign, badly under- 
stood language, is full of possibilities. Creating a fertile soil for the 
reception of conflicting and affective processes, a similar experiment 
makes it possible to study a series of structures of the speech and asso- 
ciative processes which were concealed and not manifest in the usual 
experiments, and stand out clearly only in such a "pathological experi- 

By such a method we performed experiments on 15 subjects. 
They were all students having some knowledge of the foreign 
language, but were not proficient in it. All of them were given 
25 word-stimuli in succession in the foreign language, and they 
had to give associative reactions in the same language. 

The behaviour itself of the subject is proof that we have 
here a well-defined affective reaction to a situation connected 
with a major conflict. At first the subject averred that the test 
with him would not be successful, and only after repeated as- 
surances did he come into the experiment. The extreme tension 
and then the perturbation and confusion which accompanied 
the experiment created a general atmosphere very irritating to 
the subject, but exceedingly favourable for the study of the 
conflicts under consideration. 



The character of the speech reactions we obtained in this 
experiment is, obviously, very different from that which we have 
seen in the general, normal, associative experiment. 






i Bog. 




2 K. 




3 K g- 




4 Kaul. 




5 Lur. 




6 Mor. N. 




7 Mor. T. 




8 Mor. T. 




9 Sad. 




10 Shav. 




ii Shav. 



o. 4 " 

12 Er. 




13 Er. 




14 Ud. 



2 < 

15 Cher. 







The confusion of the subject appears not only in his behaviour, 
but in the character of the associative processes themselves. 
Table 26 gives a summary of the reactive times obtained in 
this experiment. A great delay is accompanied here by extreme 
variations, averaging 50%. From these we may see the extremely 
chaotic and disorganised character of the series. The curves of 
distribution of the reactive time have in the different subjects 
a varying and irregular character (sec the curve in Figure 81), 
and they show that the standard forms of reaction have been 
entirely lost here, and they are by no means typical of the 
higher automatisms. Finally, the speech reactions were sharply 
decreased, and not at all comparable with those which we usually 
obtain in the associative experiment on adult subjects. 

Table 27 shows that 60% of the primitive inadequate speech 
reactions are given by those figures which reflect the difficulty 
and, partly, the impossibility of the subjects attaining to the 
conditions laid down by us in our instructions. 

All of this shows the conflicting character of the picture, and 
gives us reason to expect great disturbances in the neurodynamic 





A A 







TABL E 2 7 



Sound and 


Special Forms 






The facts obtained in this series are characterised, however, 
by a marked peculiarity: the subject always manifests here 
considerable activity, and we almost never meet with cases in 
which the given word produces immediately a definite and cate- 


gorical refusal, not anticipating their active attempts to respond 
to it. 

One may think that a chief role in this act is played by the following 
circumstance: that with the transfer to the foreign language in thinking 
there is always resurrected those mechanisms of syncretism 1 which in 
the verbal thinking in the native language had been already experienced 
in childhood. All of our experiments confirm this view. The subject, when 
experiencing an unfamiliar word or one with which he is only slightly 
familiar, nevertheless attempts to think it out, assimilating it with words 
whose meanings are known to him, or trying to guess its meaning. As a 
result of such a process, we have a very peculiar association, proving 
how deeply ingrained syncretism is in our thought. 

Here are several such typical syncretistic responses: 

Subject K. (English) ball evening [assimilation with the Russian 
word "ball' equivalent to the English word "ball" in the sense of a 
formal dance]. 

Subject SI. (German) Lippe Baum [assimilation with the Russian 
word lipa, meaning a lime tree]. 

Subject Ud. (French) la vache laver [assimilation with the German 
word waschcn]. 

Subject Er. (English) letter summer [assimilation with the Russian 
word leto meaning summer]. 

It is evident that, during such a syncretistic tendency to reactions, 
very capricious forms of responses occur, in which the conflict is reflected 
in the very structure of the speech response. The involvement of the 
assimilation and of another more familiar language creates for such a 
conflict an unusually rich soil and brings about the movement of this 
conflict to the speech termination of the reaction. Here are typical 
examples of such conflicting structures of the speech responses, repre- 
senting some mechanisms of the verbal new elaborations. 

Subject K. (English) ink inkkerchief (instead of inkstand; through 
the elaboration hand handkerchief). 

Subject Mor. (German) Vogel Springling (combining springen and 

Subject Vil. (German) Vogel dcr Ers (combining the German "Nest" 
and the Russian aist meaning "stork"). 

Subject Mor. (English) stone stoner (according to the formation 
kamen kamentschik, Russian words for "stone" and "brick-layer" 

The examples we have given show very clearly that we can 
easily obtain in this series conflicts arising in the speech termina- 
tion of the reaction. The instance of the strongly inhibited reac- 
tions proves that we can with equal success produce conflicts 
in the receptory area. 

Here are examples of conflicts of both types: 

1 Syncretism is a term introduced by Claparede and Piaget to indicate a 
primitive mechanism of thinking whereby the conclusion is reached without 
sufficient basis by the external appearance of the object. See Amer. Jour, of 
Psychology, Jan. 1932, p. 123. Translator. 


A. Receptory conflict: 

Subject Bod. (French) le cielri6.o"le del, le ciel, I do not know 
what this is. 

Subject K. (English) town 5.8" town, town... Ah! village! (I 
thought this was a very difficult word, but then I remembered and it 
seemed funny to me.) 

Subject K. (English) see 1 14.0" a verb? Ach! oh no! moon! (I 
was thinking that this was a verb, then I remembered that it is the sea.) 

In all these cases the conflict is connected with the reception 
of the given word-stimulus; it causes in the subject a confused 
conception, then begins the attempt to assimilate, to understand 
this word; connected with the reception of the word-stimulus, 
there may be a very real conflict, but after this, when it is over- 
come, the answer is given by the subject easily. 

B. The effector conflict is characterised by the converse of 
the above: the perception of the given word takes place fairly 
easily, the obstacle is overcome by a search for the adequate 
word response; a deficient vocabulary will make this process an 
especially conflicting one. Here are some examples : 

Subject Vil. (German) Morgcn nothing comes of it. ("I recalled dawn, 
then came morning, many thoughts, but I could not find the proper 

Subject Bod. (French) la cloche I do not know . . . ("I thought of: 
foot, church bells''). 

Subject K. (English) nose 19.0" Oi, nichevo' 2 . . . ("I wanted to say 
some part of the face, and then I thought of many words but none of 
them seemed suitable, then I decided not to answer.") 

The conflicting character of both of these parts are indis- 
putable; therefore we may confidently expect a fairly marked 
neurodynamic change accompanying these conflicting processes. 
The results confirm our supposition. As much as 82% of all the 
accompanying motor reactions occur in this series with consid- 
erable disturbances. As is shown in Table 28 (we submit only 
10 cases and their registered accompanying reactions), this 
quantity drops sometimes to 40-60^ ; in some cases all 100% 
of the accompanying reactions are disrupted. 

It is obvious, however, that in the various structures of the 

1 In choosing between "c," "sea," and "see" we have used the last to repre- 
sent phonetically the word given by the person performing the test. Trans- 

2 Nichevo is a word very commonly used throughout Russia, having no 
equivalent in English, usually indicative of a negative passivity, but having 
a range of meanings from nothing, "no," "all right," through comme ci comme qa 
to a fatalistic "it doesn't matter," "it can't be helped." Translator. 





Total Motor 


Active Dis- 

























Mor. N. 





Mor. T. 























conflicting processes we may expect equal arrangements of the 
neurodynamic disturbances. Actually all of the motor disruptions 
met with in this series fall into two groups; in some of the 
cases we observe disturbances in the latent period, having the 
character of a passive, diffused disorganisation (such disturb- 
ances make up about 22% of our series). Other cases are con- 
nected with acute disturbances of the active type, which may 
be considered as inhibition of the individual, more or less formu- 
lated, impulses ; and these make up about 10% of all the cases, 
and they usually are the more marked forms of the disorganised 
behaviour. We can easily understand how the latter forms of 
disturbances are most often connected with the conflict situated 
in the motor sphere, while the first is characterised by more 
general confusion, arising in the receptory conflict. 

The analysis of the structure of the accompanying motor 
responses allows us to conclude further: the neurodynamics of 
the receptory conflict, as our graphic protocol shows, are distin- 
guished not only by their peculiar structure, but by their quali- 
tatively and quantitatively lessened disturbance in comparison 
with the neurodynamics of the conflicts arising directly in the 
motor sphere. 

In Figure 82 there are several examples of such a receptory 
conflict, and they occur with the same structure of the motor 
reactions as those we have already seen in the effector conflicts. 

Three of our curves are distinguished by one general struc- 
ture. The conflict arising in the receptory area does not pass 
over to the direct active innervation of the motor reactions; 




A. SUBJECT SL. Kreide 4.8" i DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS is. 

B. BED. le gateau 6.3" le lo (SOUND). 


it conditions several passive, diffuse fluctuations in the right 
hand, and as a rule, brings about a transfer of the excitation 
to the left hand, thus extending into the passive motor system. 
All of the disturbances produced here are not of an acute active 
character, and we again get the impression that the conflict, 
removed from the motor sphere, manifests a less acute structural 
form. In effect, if we actually compare this picture with the 
motor symptoms obtained during the actual speech conflict, the 
structural differences are considerable. 
In Figure 83 we have examples of how the conflict behaves 


A. SUBJECT BOD. Vecole 6.0" Vecole . . . le mditre (i WANTED TO SAY 


WORD Haare). 


when displaced toward the motor terminal in those subjects whose 
receptory conflict we have just seen. Even in the first com- 
parative analysis of both cases it is noticeable that while here 
the excitation extends directly into the motor sphere, and in the 
case of the removal of the conflict into the receptory field, it 
becomes isolated from it, conditioning only an accessory, irradi- 
ated phenomenon of disturbance. 

Before us we see problems which we are unable to solve from 
the present investigation. If the effector conflict created condi- 
tions for the direct seeping through of the excitation into the 
active motor area and produced marked disorganisation of the 
active behaviour, then the conflict, forced into the receptory- 
connecting sphere, can evoke certain changes in the neurody- 
namics of the organism. A series of observations leads us to 
believe, however, that the excitation caused by the conflict, 
having been separated from the active motor area, finds other 
paths of expression, extending primarily into the passive motor 
field and into the vegetative processes. We are fully assured that 
a detailed analysis would reveal during the receptory conflict 
considerable vegetative changes, and this should make it pos- 
sible to reach an evaluation from the new aspect of the mechanics 
of the disorganisation of human behaviour. 

The experiments with the displaced conflicts enable us to 
reach a conclusion which has been already noted in the exam- 
ination of the affective processes : the disorganisation of the active 
behaviour is connected with the conflicting process, and depends 
upon the inhibition of some significant part of the given process 
of the (leading) activity. This disorganisation is the more acute 
the closer the conflict comes to the motor sphere. 

The maximal and most acute forms of the disorganisation of 
active behaviour occur in those cases where the conflict arises 
directly in the motor termination, inhibiting the action already 
completely prepared for expression (Bcinahe Entladung). 

The displacement of the conflict into the receptory-connecting 
area in the majority of cases (in the cultured adult) isolates 
the conflict from direct influence upon the active motor reac- 
tions, and the conflict in this instance ceases to produce a serious 
pathological disorganisation of behaviour. 

Analysing those extremely acute forms into which the effector 
conflict flows, we begin to understand how the conflict displaced 
from the motor area plays the deciding role in the preservation 
of the personality from that disruption which might threaten 
it if all of the conflicts went over directly into the motor ap- 


paratus. For this reason, among the mechanisms causing the 
domination of the actual affect, the leading role should unques- 
tionably be taken by the mechanism of the displacement of the 
conflict, isolating it from the motor sphere. 

What is the significance of the conflict's becoming isolated 
from the motor function from the effector sphere and dis- 
placed into the receptory-connecting area? How do we explain 
the fact, that having been displaced to that point, the conflict 
ceases to go over directly into the active motor area and to 
disorganise the active behaviour? 

We are inclined to see the answer to this problem in the fact 
that the receptory-connecting system, on the one hand, and the 
effector, on the other, play functionally unequal roles in the 
activity of the organism, and they dominate unequivalent struc- 
tures. Having special functions according to the previous elab- 
oration of the activity, this first system in the cultured adult is 
isolated from the motor area in such a way that the excitation 
beginning in it does not go over directly into the motor ap- 
paratus, but is transferred to it only when the elaborated process 
is completed. 

This division of all the activities into two strictly separated 
phases is characteristic of the behaviour of every adult, so that 
in normal behaviour one receives the impression that between 
the two phases there is some "barrier," obstructing the direct 
transfer of excitation to the motor area and allowing the organism 
to prepare itself for activity, in order that it may then, by the 
organised motor act, complete the prepared connection. 

Because the connecting apparatus is so extremely labile and 
has such a wealth of functional possibilities, and the motor 
apparatus is comparatively simple, is perhaps the reason why 
every conflict occurring in the motor area, disrupts the normal 
motor activity, while the same conflict displaced toward the 
receptory-connecting terminal, is successfully utilised by the 
complex psychological mechanisms, and remains isolated from 
a detrimental influence on the behaviour. 


TN our analysis so far we have ventured an opinion concerning 
those individual differences which are characteristic of the be- 
haviour of various subjects. However, such differences play an 
important role in the formulation of the reactions to the given 


conditions of our experiments. When one and the same set of 
circumstances, evoking, for example, a given psychological mech- 
anism, produce, however, different neurodynamic reactions, we 
have a right to speak of individual variations in the neurody- 
namics of our subjects, and to refer the data precisely to this. 

We shall return to the example which gives us an opportunity 
directly to analyse the mechanisms lying at the basis of the 
individual differences of the neurodynamic apparatus. 

Figure 84 gives two reactions in two subjects. Both reactions 
occurred under the conditions of the conflict of defection during 
the experiment with limited associations. The two are almost 
equal in their psychological structures; in each of the subjects 
the stimulus meets with a certain obstacle, and after considerable 
inhibition, the subject responds by giving some word. 

However, the structures of the neurodynamic processes lying 
at the basis of each of these reactions, differ essentially one 
from the other. Although in the first subject the associative 
obstruction does not produce any perceptible neurodynamic dis- 
turbance, the reactive process of the second is distinguished by 
the signs of intense excitation, sharp disorganisation of the motor 
system, occurring throughout the latent period, and transferred 
even to the left, passive hand. The introduction of the difficulty 
does not cause loss of equilibrium in the first subject, but in 
the second subject it gives rise to a marked disorganisation of 
behaviour. According to the facts, we have here two subjects 
characterised by different degrees of labileness of neurodynamics, 
and in these subjects the proximity of the intensity of the 
excitation produces entirely unequal neurodynamic reactions. We 
might call these two types of nervous systems the stable and 
labile, and expect that these differences would be manifested 
not only in the separate reactions but in the whole behaviour. 

Both pictures of the reactive processes in these two subjects 
confirm the hypothesis that the differences we observed were not 
accidental. Below is a summary of the characteristic reactions 
in the experiment with limited associations: 

Subject K. 

Subject Is. 

Weak motor disturbances 
Isolated motor disturbances in the left hand 
Marked motor disturbances 



Total motor disturbances 





t ff ^*t* 








We see that the number of differences in the motor disturbances 
in the two cases are considerable, and our data are not accidental. 

The general features of the characteristics of these two sub- 
jects confirm the whole picture, and are indicative of an entirely 
different set of neurodynamics. 

Subject K., a female student, 25 Subject Is., a female student, 24 
years old, Pycnik constitution, years old, definitely an asthenic 
quiet, equable in her relations with type, very excitable, converses 
her companions, movements slow rapidly and sharply, sometimes 
and smooth, always self-contained; shouting, restless when sitting in 
psychically, a healthy personality. one place, movements violent and 

angular, unstable in her relations; 
a markedly psychopathic individ- 

It is very clear to us that in this material there is actually 
reflected a serious difference in the activity of the nervous system, 
and that we meet with some important features by which the 
behaviour of one person can be differentiated from that of an- 
other. Sufficient grounds exist for saying that these basic differ- 
ences consist in the varying ease with which the excitation passes 
over into the motor sphere. In certain of the subjects which 
we have studied the excitation was usually fairly well isolated 
from the direct possibility of transfer to the motor system ; the 
conflicts, not having the character of "inhibition at the motor 
terminal," as a rule, do not evoke marked motor disturbances; 
their expressive systems are fairly stable, the central excitation 
and conflicts do not produce considerable disorganisation of 
behaviour, the phase of preliminary elaboration is fairly well 
isolated from the motor system, and as we have already indicated, 
there exists between the two processes, it seems, a stable barrier 
impenetrable to the excitation before it is sufficiently elaborated 
for a reaction. 

The reverse picture is of a reactive-labile type; only the be- 
ginning central process produces in such a subject an immediate 
transfer of excitation to the motor system ; both phases of the 
complex reactive behaviour are not timed accurately, and the 
process of excitation passes over into motor reactions before it 
is well formulated. The picture is one of diffused reactions ; and, 
as a result of the defection, isolating the excitation from the 
motor system, each process of activity goes too far, being imme- 
diately reflected in motor acts. Under such conditions we may 
certainly expect that each conflict will produce an acute disor- 
ganisation of behaviour. 


We can expect here that the pathological material is an ex- 
treme instance of such a mechanism. We return, therefore, to 
those diseases in which we may expect marked flaws in the 
structure of the reactive process. 

As an example of the stable structure of the reactive processes 
we shall refer to cases of pseudobulbar paralysis. We might use 
other material, such as the neurodynamics of schizoid patients, 
but pseudobulbar paralysis is of particular interest for us on 
account of certain of its aspects; in spite of the forced move- 
ments, having an emotional character (the forced laugh and 
grimacing) called out by any acute tension, these patients usually 
manifest considerable emotional stability, and behind these 
compulsive movements, there is not usually concealed any per- 
ceptible psychological affect. All these facts make us turn with 
considerable interest to those phenomena which the given pa- 
tients show us during attempts to introduce in their activity 
the conflict. 

That which we see in similar patients shows the absence in 
their symptomatology of marked motor excitation even in the 
cases of the more energetic intellectual conflicts. As a rule, the 
given patients do not manifest a tendency to impulsive mobili- 
sation of energy and to a direct transfer of it to the motor 
sphere. Although in the experiments with artificial conflicts the 
results are markedly different from those with normal people, 
showing an average labileness of the nervous system, the varia- 
tions usually consist in this, that the conflict is almost never 
expressed in the motor system, and as a result, the curves have 
a stable, uniform character. 

While bringing out a certain difficulty in these subjects, we, 
however, do not stimulate directly the current of the activity 
which is transferred to the motor sphere and which produces 
the usual motor disturbances seen in our cases. Even during 
considerable conflict the motor curve remains inactive, inexpres- 
sive. It appears that these illnesses are sharply differentiated 
from normal subjects in one respect: usually there exists between 
the receptory-connecting system and the motor system a "func- 
tional barrier" obstructing the direct transfer of the excitation 
to the motor sphere, but we have here a rupture, so to speak, 
between the two systems of activity, and those severe conflicts 
which may arise in the first of them is not transferred at all to 
the motor area. Our customary descriptions of dementia the 
stupidity of these patients, the stereotyped character of their 
"expressive" movements is proof that various central experi- 


ences are not reflected adequately here in the motor system, and 
that we actually have good reasons to describe this group of 
diseases as typical, even though pathological, cases of that which 
we have called the stable type of neurodynamics. 

Patient M with pseudobulbar paralysis usually gives very 
stable, stereotyped and inexpressive motor reactions. In this ex- 
periment with the conflict of defection in which the problem is 
to give limited associative responses (whole-part) it was fre- 
quently above the threshold of capability for the subject. In these 
cases we naturally obtain an inhibition of the reactions, a marked 
increase of the latent period, symptoms of an inner intellectual 
fluctuation, reflected even in the speech; yet an absolutely un- 
disturbed and inexpressive motor curve, not reflecting in any 
degree the central conflict in progress. 

At the basis of the extreme cases of the stable type lies the 
rupture between the coupling-up (connecting) activity and the 
motor expression, as a result of which the neutral excitation is 
not adequately reflected in the motor system. 

We have cited pseudobulbar paralysis because it is characterised by an 
unusually obvious rupture between the emotional activity and the pseudo- 
emotional expressive symptoms. It is equally propitious, however, for our 
results if we take a case of Parkinson's disease: in this the incoordination 
of both systems is well marked. In severe types of Parkinson's disease 
the motor expression of the conflict is complicated by an intense im- 
mobility and rigidity; in the lighter forms, where the external motor 
reactions are not markedly interfered with, and the rigidity does not 
complicate the motor manifestation of the neurodynamic conflicts, we 
may see a very stable, and almost unchanged picture of the motor reac- 
tions. Here the mechanism which we have indicated leads to the appear- 
ance of the more stable, stereotyped forms of neurodynamics. 

The reverse picture might be looked for in the case where 
both stages of the reactive process the receptory-connecting and 
the effector are so closely bound together that the differentiated 
structure of the neurodynamic apparatus takes the place of the 
diffused. We have spoken of the acutely reactive labile type in 
those instances in which every excitation, even in the beginning 
of its stages, is directly transferred to the motor system, and 
where the "functional barrier" is so weak that the excitation 
isolated from the motor sphere is not obtainable. In those cases 
we may expect maximal impulsiveness because the motor course 
of the excitation is poorly inhibited and a maximal expression 
because each central change is easily reflected in the motor in- 
nervation finally, we may expect a maximal affectiveness, a 


maximal tendency to respond to each conflict of the disorgani- 
sation of behaviour because the conflict is not capable of being 
isolated from the motor sphere and limited to the receptory- 
connecting area. 

In functional neuroses we have such cases, particularly in 
hysteria and neurasthenia. 

Experiment shows that these diseases are characterised by a 
well-marked reactivity to every difficulty, to every conflict, and 
by complete inability to keep the excitations isolated from the 
motor sphere. Any problem produces here a current of activity, 
diffusedly spreading over into the motor area, and a conflict 
arising in the receptory-connecting system immediately causes 
an intense motor disorganisation. 

We had an opportunity to make a series of systematic observa- 
tions on the behaviour of patients with nervous diseases under 
the conditions of experimental conflict. About twenty-five subjects 
(neurasthenia and hysteria) were investigated by the method of 
associations; what we obtained here was the exact opposite of 
the material described before with the stable type of neuro- 

Figure 86 gives us the comparative figures of the experiments 
with limited associations, performed on three patients with a 
well-defined form of neurasthenia. All these facts are charac- 
terised by a certain structure, making this material highly con- 
clusive, and showing us the fundamental neurodynamic mech- 
anism of the functional neurosis. 

The reactions obtained are as follows. As a rule, the first reac- 
tions, not causing any difficulty or obstruction, flow over into 
the speech and into the motor relations normally: 

Subject Buch. 

5. table 4 2" feet 

6. ship 3.4" pipe 

7. forest 3.2" fir 

8. gun 3.6" 

Subject Prok. 

6. hand 1.6" finger 

7. bureau 2.4" drawer 

8. cart 3.2" wheel 

9. train 3.0" locomotive 

Subject Chist. 

2. ship 6.0" ship 

3. forest S.o" well, 

knot . . . etc. 

The difficulty introduced, however, calls out an acute disor- 
ganisation of the speech and motor activity. During the marked 
excitation of these patients the presentation of the difficulty acts 
as a shock, producing a conflict and at once being transferred 
to the acute inhibition of the whole associative activity, connected 

2 96 


<" .>. j U^>^w%^^^J K*^ 


with a complete inability to respond adequately to the given 

Those examples of marked obstruction, corresponding to the great 
speech excitation which we observed in our subjects show that the con- 
flict primarily ruptures all the normal associative activity changing the 
attempt to make an adequate answer into a process of acute disorganisa- 

Subject Buch. 

19. samovar 6.0" well, what must I say . . . well, pipe, I do not 

24. glass 1 2.0" glass ... just glass ... what part to say I do not 


Subject Prok. 

1 2. notebook 7.0" 1 ... 1 ... covers . . . leaf ... I want to say so much 
at once . . . ruler, sheet ... I do not know what to say. 

13. butter 144" what kind of butter ... I do not know ... Russian 
butter or creamery butter. 

Subject Chist. 

12. notebook 9.2" Oi, I do not know what to answer! 
15. stairs 66" well, I do not know ... well, stoop. 
21. fire 6.0" fire, well, what more . . . I cannot say. 
23. troops 5.8" troops . . . well, battling. 

Here we have nicely defined examples of the coupling-up conflicts 
connected with the attempts to give adequate answers, as well as the 
effector responses, the chief obstructions in which give rise to the neces- 
sity of choosing the adequate reaction from among several thought of. 

After what has been said above, it is clear that we find here 
considerable disorganisation of motor behaviour. Our attention 
is directed to those cases in which the coupling-up character 
of the conflict leaves no doubt that the conflict was well removed 
from the motor sphere. An analysis of these cases gives very 
characteristic results: the coupling-up conflict was here almost 
indistinguishable from the motor conflict; both cases produced 
an acute neurodynamical excitation and an acute disorganisation 
of the motor curve. 

The figure demonstrated above illustrates this. The reaction 
in which the difficulty occurs in the absence of the suitable 
answer (Curve A of Reaction 24, Curve B of Reaction 13, 
Curve C of Reactions 21 and 23) produce, however, a direct 
transfer of the excitation to the motor sphere. This is manifested 
by the fact that the latent period is completed by sharp im- 
pulses freed from the speech response, and by the subsequent 
irradiated excitation which disorganises the whole behaviour and 
goes beyond the limits of the given reaction. 

Sometimes these emancipated, direct impulses (a, a) take 
the form of acute, completely uninhibited reactions, following just 
after the stimulation. They show very convincingly that the 
reactive process here takes on a diffuse character, and this exci- 
tation immediately and directly extends over into the motor 

The diffuse character of the reaction, taking its course in the 
area of its general excitation, stands out in bold relief if we 
compare it with those which we usually obtain in the analogous 
experiment with subjects having a nervous system of average 
labileness, and not exceeding the normal limits. The coupling-up 


conflict, connected with the absence of the adequate response, 
inevitably is expressed here in several motor symptoms, but 
these motor symptoms (explained by the analogy of the exci- 
tation leaking over into the motor area) are of incomparably 
lesser intensity and they are overcome by the inhibition much 
more easily. 

In Figure 87 we have a protocol of an analogous experiment 
performed in the same clinical setting on two subjects who came 
to the ambulatory for fatigue, headache, etc., but who had no 
symptoms of a functional neurosis. The curves obtained show 
that there is no definite deformity of the structure of the 
reactive process, no definitely obstructed, diffused transfer of 
the excitation to the motor sphere, no acute disturbance of the 
functional barrier, and these subjects, according to the data of 
the experiments, cannot be classified with the acute neurotics. 



l8. CAP 1.8" FIELD 24. PAIN 5.6" 1 DO NOT KNOW. 



The group of neurotic subjects is sharply differentiated from 
the normal by the diffused structure of the reactive process, by 
the direct transfer of the excitation to the motor sphere, and 
by the inability to keep the conflict isolated from the motor 
area. These impulsive reactions take place in our subjects on 
the basis of the general excitability; each conflict manifests a 
tendency to mobilise the inadequate mass of excitation so that 
the response given by the subject is not capable of neutralising 
them, and we see an acutely expressed subsequent disorgani- 



sation of behaviour (see for example Figure 86, Curve A, Reac- 
tion 24), differing in the whole following interval and disturbing 
the course of the next reaction. The conflict introduced into the 
psyche is changed into a diffused disturbance of the neurody- 
namic processes, and we have a picture exactly analogous to that 
analysis with which we concluded the first part of our investi- 
gations, dealing with the psychophysiology of the natural affects. 







% of motor 



















































The list given in Table 29 shows that the similar disturbances 
are not exceptional, and that the reactions of the majority of 
subjects with a functional neurosis which we have studied 
(neurasthenia) give a large number of markedly disturbed and 
fairly unstable results. 

We have performed numerous experiments on hysterical pa- 
tients. In spite of the complicated nature of the material we 
can at least state that the same laws hold in hysteria. It is true 
that in this material we see etiologically different groups of 
hysterical patients, having almost nothing in common. 

Hysteria is a psychogenic disease, concealing in its past a 
conflict or a trauma, and it is sharply distinguished from diseases 
having at their basis a constitutional labileness of the nervous 
system, a great excitability of the sub-cortical and vegetative 
systems and a defective isolation from the activity of the cortex. 
The classical forms of hysteria, however, undoubtedly result 
from a convergence of both causes, when an acute trauma or 
conflict falls on the soil of an excitable and labile nervous system. 
And precisely in these cases we always witness those phenomena, 
the analysis of which we have just completed : the diffused char- 
acter of the reaction and the inability to isolate the conflict from 


the motor sphere is as characteristic for hysteria as it is for the 
other acutely expressed functional neuroses. 

A comparative analysis of the material resulting from the 
structure of the conflicting processes makes it possible for us 
thus to approach the problem of the typological differences in 
the activity of the nervous system, not putting at the basis of 
the typological divisions any new symptoms but examining these 
qualitative variations as a result of the degree of organisation 
of the structure of the reactive processes, of the degree of isola- 
tion of the arising excitation from its motor termination. 

The experiments with the movements of the conflicts show 
that the typological differences in the neurodynamics consist 
primarily in the unequal influence of such shifts, and if during 
the satisfactory differentiation of the neurodynamic apparatus 
only one shift of the conflict into the receptory connecting sphere 
almost isolates it from the motor system, then in the labile 
nervous system and especially in the diffused structure of be- 
haviour the extreme cases of which we see in neuroses such 
a shift ceases to play its role, and the conflict freely passes over 
into the motor sphere, at the same time disorganising the 

We have arrived at the fundamental neurodynamic mechanism 
lying at the basis of the neurosis. The inability to isolate the 
conflict from the motor sphere and destruction of the "functional 
barrier" situated between the connecting and the motor activity 
is one of the chief psychophysiological mechanisms, and from 
this soil there may quickly spring a neurosis. During its presence 
any conflict might easily pass over into an affective state, and 
we have those exceedingly acute disturbances in behaviour which 
we have studied producing them artificially or observing them 
in the neurotic cases. 

The analysis of the structure of the conflicting processes brings 
us to the recognition of the great role which the structure of the 
reactive process and the differentiation of its separate parts plays 
in the pathogenesis and therapy of human behaviour. There- 
fore, in the third part of our investigation, we shall try to give 
detailed experiments which will make this structure more com- 
prehensible and show the origin of the diffusion noted by us here 
as well as the mechanisms, with the help of which the connecting 
apparatus acquires in the normal human adult the specific ability 
to separate the excitation from the direct transfer to the motor 




*W "IT THAT we have been occupied with to this point has 
\ /\/ been at most but a momentary view of those mech- 

y f anisms which characterised the conflict and its influ- 
ence on the behaviour of the personality. The manifestations 
of the mechanisms which we have described are characteristic 
of the conflict itself, but only very slightly of the personality. 
From this point of view they are but partial trials taken from 
separate divisions of the systems, the exact significance of which 
in the whole system of the personality remains unknown to us. 
In order to draw fairly complete conclusions concerning the 
personality from the investigation of the conflicting processes 
we must proceed by the method of the stratified analysis of the 
conflicts, by the method of the dynamic sections which might 
characterise as well as influence the conflict in the various stages 
of human behaviour. 

Having noted the chief mechanisms of the disorganisation of 
human behaviour under the influence of the conflicting processes 
we may ask ourselves the question: at what level of behaviour 
does the conflict begin to produce in a given personality the 
destruction of the organised behaviour? 

Precisely such a form of the question, and not the data ob- 
tained in the separate partial experiments, can provide us with 
a dynamic delineation of the personality, and make possible a 
more exact and more complete evaluation of the character of its 
neurodynamic processes. 

We are undoubtedly justified in speaking of the presence of 
certain strata of organisation in the behaviour of every person- 



ality; whilst the more primitive of them are already regulated 
at the earlier stages of their development, the more complex 
and difficult ones are also more labile even in the very complex 
human organism. The estimation of the labileness of the per- 
sonality's neurodynamics can arise not only in proportion to the 
ability of the conflict going on within it to remain outside the 
motor sphere (seeping through into it disturbs the behaviour) 
but also depending upon in which stratum of behaviour the 
conflict necessarily begins to produce its destruction, its disor- 

Several examples will help us to make the exposition of the 
question more complete. We cannot state whether the behaviour 
of the very young is completely unorganised: it appears clearly 
organised if we observe it in the primitive stratum, for example, 
in the act of sucking, and disorganised if we pass over into the 
more complicated strata having to do with the activity of the 
cortical apparatus. An analogous picture can be seen in the be- 
haviour of the adult, only the disorganisation of the behaviour 
is here shifted to a much more complicated stratum of behaviour, 
being under the influence of entirely other factors and therefore 
characterised by qualitatively different structure. Previously, 
during the analysis of the affective processes, we convinced our- 
selves that in the whole series of cases the simplest movements 
are completely attainable to the subject and have their course 
without any considerable disturbances, whilst the inclusion of 
the more complicated, and chiefly of the higher associative 
processes, inevitably produce a rupture and severe disorganisation 
of behaviour. 

Before us looms up the problem of how to find that level of com- 
plexity at which the neurodynamics of the process of the given subject 
readily begins to foster the disturbances, and at which the conflict intro- 
duced into the behaviour of the subject ceases to dominate the organised 
setting. Such a problem is really considerably more complicated than it 
would seem and therefore it requires a series of preliminary methodolog- 
ical exactions which guarantee that we are planning its solution in the 
right way. 

The matter consists in this: the process of the development of neuro- 
dynamic functions is by no means as simple and gradual a process of 
elementary growth of organisation as we might think. In reality the posi- 
tion is certainly concluded in the fact that the organisation of the 
activity constantly attains to a higher and higher stratum of behaviour, 
reaching over by degrees immediately beyond the instinctive reflex acts 
into the strata of habits and the stratum of the more complicated co- 
ordination, and, finally, terminating with the intellectual and speech 


Actually the process of development has here a complicated, and so 
to speak, a dialectic character, changing the leading factors in their 
various stages, and correspondingly altering the qualitative regularity. 
In the young child everything connected with the primitive instinctive 
activity and partially with the habits may have somewhat of an organ- 
ised character, while at the same time the given problem connected with 
the speech problem of behaviour represents great difficulties, and readily 
disorganises the process but in the adult the state of affairs is markedly 
changed, and often even reversed. All the elementary functions of be- 
haviour in which speech plays a part are more stable and organised, and 
the exclusion of its participation makes the behaviour much more labile. 
This is satisfactorily explained by the fact that the inclusion of the 
speech fundamentally changes the principles of the organisation of the 
behaviour; it alters the natural forms of the gradual organisation "from 
below," the cultured forms of behaviour "from above." Then that which 
previously was the more complicated and difficult stratum of behaviour, 
appears now not only the more stable layer, but indeed the system play- 
ing the organised role in its relation to other strata of behaviour. 

The alluring picture of the simply complicated systems, with the sub- 
sequent study of their labileness, makes more intricate the direct character 
of the process of development, and our analysis necessarily must take 
into account the dialectics, estimating at each stage of the development 
the new context of the given phenomena, the new forms and principles 
according to the organisations, proceeding from the analysis of the new 
leading factors, and consequently the new structure of the given phe- 

All this leads us to recognise that we are only at the very beginning 
of that path which can conduct us to the satisfactory study of the 
degree of the neurodynamical labileness of the personality. This problem 
presupposes a prolonged investigation of those actual correlations existing 
between the different functional systems and that structure characterising 
the behaviour at the various stages of development. Therefore, from the 
very beginning we should limit our problem only to the discovery of 
those most general paths which are able to lead to the study of the 
dynamics of the conflicts on the ground of the common neurodynamical 
distinctions of the given personality. 

For the dynamical stratified analysis of the conflicting proc- 
esses we shall choose the same pathological material which was 
the subject of our analysis in the preceding chapter. Many cir- 
cumstances impel us to do this. The material of the neuropathic 
individuals gives us much that is very favourable for our problem ; 
the facts connected with the analysis of the conflicting processes 
in neurotics bear witness to this. 

The most important factors appear to us as follows: during 
the study of the conflicting processes in the normal subjects we 
should each time artificially refer the known conflict to the system 
being studied by us. But here we are able to investigate the 
spontaneous, conflicting phenomena, arising in the different sys- 


terns of activity, thanks to the fact that the neurotic subject is 
far from always capable of controlling his neurodynamical proc- 
esses. The nervous system of such a subject, as a rule, is much 
more sensitive and excitable; precisely owing to this, the com- 
paratively weakly regulated mechanisms are not here capable of 
coping with the excitation arising frequently, even in the fairly 
primitive stages of activity. Thus in the functions of the psycho- 
neurotic there are manifest conflicts where, in normal subjects 
with a fairly regulated behaviour, there are none. The very 
structure of the neurodynamical processes allows us to change 
in this case our approach, our method. At the same time in order 
to introduce artificially conflicts into the activity of the subject, 
and then to observe how this introduced conflict alters the whole 
behaviour, we can present to our subject problems of successive 
degrees of difficulty and observe how he is able to handle them. 
That level of difficulty of neurodynamical problems at which the 
subject is not able to control the excitation and reacts by a 
disturbance of behaviour will serve us in defining the limits 
of one system of activity an index of the labileness of the 

The simplest example shows us in which comparatively primi- 
tive strata, presenting no difficulties whatever for the normal 
subject, the behaviour of the neurotic acquires a conflicting 
character. The increased excitability of the neurotic with the 
neurodynamical tendency characteristic of all excitation to reach 
directly to the motor terminal create a considerable conflict even 
during the simplest necessity to inhibit its beginning activity. 

Figure 88 gives an example of such a conflict arising in the 
comparatively primitive system of motor activity. Our subject, 
a neurotic boy of ten, is given as a problem to tap rhythmically 
on a pneumatic plate ; the instructions state that the sound signal 
given in the process of the rhythmical tapping will serve as a 
stimulus for the immediate cessation of the reaction. In the nor- 
mal subject this instruction does not give rise to any difficulty and 
the problem is easily performed. The specific structure of the 
reactive processes in the neurotic makes this problem very diffi- 
cult. The stimulus given the subject is not immediately accepted 
by him, but it is directly transferred to the motor sphere, pro- 
ducing not the expected inhibition but an acute impulsive rupture 
of the motor activity. It is obvious that during such a direct 
action of the stimulus, its inhibiting role is complicated by a 
reverse excitation of its influence, and the simple act of restrain- 


ing the motor activity is an intricate conflicting process, presup- 
posing the acquisition of a direct impulsive tendency. 

Such a conflicting structure of the process can be seen even 
in the more primitive strata of the activity in the neurotic sub- 
ject. From the degree of labileness of its neurodynamics and 
from the masses of excitation which every stimulus mobilises 
within it, depends upon in which stratum its behaviour acquires 
a conflicting character; the development and strength of its 
regulating mechanisms will depend upon whether it is able to 
dominate these conflicts, and in each stratum we may seek to 
obtain disorganisation of its behaviour. 


The subsequent study of the organisation of behaviour at the 
separate levels makes it possible to trace very readily the dynami- 
cal development of the conflicting processes. 


THOSE features characteristic of the neurodynamics of our pa- 
tients, which we have described above, make us think that even 
the comparatively simple actions, easily flowing into the normal, 
call out here a spontaneous appearance of the conflicting process. 
The conflict is a result of the fact that the mobilisation of the 


inadequate masses of energy meets here with an insufficiency of 
the motor apparatus which is incapable of dominating these 
excitations seen in life and of neutralising them in the motor 
reactions. This process creates from the most primitive reactions 
of the neurotic an activity characteristic of the conflict and 
quickly ending with a complete disorganisation of the entire 

We shall begin here to give a number of complexes, elementary 
in their character, but under extreme degrees of labileness in 
the nervous system, producing an acute disorganisation of be- 

i. We begin with the following: experiments with the simple 
rhythmical pressures do not produce any difficulty for the normal 
adult, and they may be considered among the most elementary 
of the processes we study. This very simple aspect of the reac- 
tions is characterised by the fact that in the normal subject, 
interruptions may be made exceedingly quickly in the series of 
automatic actions, flowing according to a certain motor formula, 
and reflecting a standard character. These actions are primarily 
characterised by the fact that the subject at once begins to 
mobilise definite, adequate, masses of excitation and the normal 
curve and rhythmical tapping usually has a very regular char- 

It is just these factors which are disturbed in the reactions of 
the neurotic. The problems we set the subject, to give rhyth- 
mical pressures, very quickly produce a conflict; the subject 
begins to mobilise increasing masses of excitation; the general 
excitability forces him to do this, and the mobilised masses of 
excitation are inadequate, they destroy the elaborated cortical 
automatisms, obstruct the delicate phenomena, and in place of 
the regular rhythmical pressures we have an irregular disorganised 

In the more acute cases the simple series of rhythmical pres- 
sures enable us to distinguish the neurotic subject with marked 
excitability and weak cortical regularity from the normal person. 

Figure 89 shows both types of cases. The normal subject gives 
here a very regular series of motor reactions ; the neurotic, irregu- 
larity in the excitability, and inequality in the tensity of the 
pressures, delaying the delicate phenomena and destroying the 
rhythm. The difference between the two types of reactions is 
brought out clearly if we express the stability of each series in 
the curve of distribution of intensity in the individual reactive 
links accompanying the respective series. 



ft<l Ho 81 




In Figure 90 we have the comparative curves of intensity of the 
rhythmic reactions of the normal and of the neurasthenic. We 
consider their reactions symptomatic. They show that the or- 
ganised active process led by the higher cortical automatisms to 
the maximal degree of regularity is here destroyed, and it loses 
all of its organisation. Here these reactions remain regular in 
their form but the disorganisation is reflected chiefly in the dis- 
turbed rhythm and intensity of the curves, i.e., in the loss of that 
standard character which distinguishes this process in the normal. 
We may think that, as a result of the diffused character of the 
neurodynamic processes and the very easy mobilisation of the 
inadequate masses of excitation in our neurotic subjects, there 
may be already formed at this level of behaviour an acute con- 
flict connected with the loss of the "motor formula" characteristic 
of it and a destruction of those "reaction patterns," which are 
so easily elaborated in the normal. 

A considerable part of the rhythmical reactions observed in 
our neurotic subjects were characterised by a certain degree of 
disorganisation of the forms of behaviour. This was usually ex- 







pressed in the unequal form and it reflected the intense degree 
of labileness of the nervous system in the personality under con- 
sideration; a great excitability and diminished strength of the 
cortical regularity inevitably led to a destruction of the behaviour 
even at this stage. 

We had an opportunity to prove experimentally that the deviation of 
the cortical regularity increases the picture of destruction observed here, 
while this regularity leads to the organisation of the system of behaviour. 
In Figure 91, we have two kinds of reactive movements of a hysterical 
patient. The first of these was registered while the patient was in his usual 
state; the second immediately after an acute attack of hysteria. In the 
intervals between the two experiments the patient exhibited the typical 
symptoms of the attacks of grande hysteric. 

These classical movements which we saw here (fine movements of the 
hands and fingers, etc.) were convincing evidence that the regulating role 
of the cortex ceased to connect up with the motor system and that the 
movements reverted to those of a primitive and, as it were, sub-cortical 










type. The following experiment done twenty minutes after the attack, 
led us to believe that the higher cortical regularity was certainly in abey- 
ance; after the attack the character of the reactions was sharply changed; 
instead of the standard movements proceeding according to the elaborated 
motor formula, with every mobilisation of the adequate masses of energy, 
we see here deautomatised reactions, which have lost the motor formula 
and have been deprived of the property of intensity as well as form. 

2. The experiments with rhythmical movements demonstrating 
the presence of the simple reactive movements in the conflicting 
reactive process even at the most elementary level of the neuro- 
dynamics leads us directly to the following series, which appears 
even more elementary but which actually is considerably more 
complex and difficult. 

The experiments with a simple reaction to a signal were con- 
sidered by a whole generation of psychologists as the most simple 
and elementary of all psychophysiological experiments. It seems 


that here we come to a process which is the most elementary act 
of behaviour, and from which we may build a structure of vol- 
untary human behaviour. 

History annihilated the hopes of the psychologist, the phe- 
nomena of the "simple reaction" was not suited for the com- 
prehension of the complex voluntary activity ; analysis destroyed 
naive belief in this fact. "The act of behaviour" showed that 
this form already presupposed a considerable complexity of ac- 
tivity, and that there is a whole series of neurodynamical proc- 
esses, howsoever voluntary, much more "elementary" than the 
"simple reaction." * The simple comparison of this form of 
activity with the scheme of spontaneous rhythmical movements 
which we have just examined shows how much more complicated 
is the process before us. 

The reactive response to the external stimulus presupposes pri- 
marily, not an internal coordination of the separate links of the 
spontaneous system of movements, but movements transferred to 
a certain external agent ; even this one is a much more complex 
action than those not connected with the external spontaneous 
movements. The second factor, however, shows clearly the in- 
tricacy of the "simple reactions" ; the unified motor response pre- 
supposes origin of this act from systems of activity which are 
genetically earlier and more unified. Occurring among reactive 
processes of a diffused character, this origin postulates an ob- 
structing, inhibiting tendency to the spread of motor excitation, 
which is characteristic for primitive forms of activity and which 
should be included in the "simple reactions." 

It is clear that with the increased tendency of our neurotics 
to the mobilisation of excitation and the decreased activity of 
the higher regulative mechanisms such a problem becomes very 
difficult, and the simple reaction develops into a conflicting proc- 
ess. It will be of advantage for us to point out the dynamics of 
this process in the subsequent number of examples taken from 
the protocols of our experiments on neurotic patients. 

Figure 92 gives a typical example, showing that the process 
of gradually acquired domination of excitation is here very evi- 
dent : subject Roz. in response to an auditory signal readily gives 
a sharp pressure, but he is not able at once to inhibit the excita- 
tion arising, and many of the subsequent extinguished waves 
prove that he overcame these only after some time. These phe- 
nomena, seen here in very definite forms, were present in one 
or another degree in all of our neurotics. The experiments with 

1 This will be discussed in detail in Chapter X, sections 2 and 3. 


simple reactions, as a rule, were accompanied by many impulses, 
additional pressures, often unexpected even for the subject him- 
self. In these extra pressures we see an emancipation of the 
excitation from the regulative mechanisms and sometimes strenu- 
ous efforts to master them again ; the conflict in the reactions of 
the choice created for the neurotic is chiefly a conflict of the 
inadequate excitation, emancipating it from the higher regulation, 
a conflict with the attempt of the regulating processes to inhibit 
it, to produce organisation in the given reactions. 



Figure 93 gives such typical examples of the emancipation of 
the motor impulses from the regulating processes, and the con- 
flicts connected with this appearance in the neurotics. The de- 
formity of the curves during the attempts to inhibit the extra 
impulses, and the disorganised behaviour connected with this is 
comprehensible from the conflicting character of the reactive 
processes in the neurotic. 

The fact that the manifestation of the conflicts of the motor 
reactions in the neurotics causes a return of those elements which 



were characteristic for the neurodynamics will occupy our atten- 
tion now. We can easily obtain analogous phenomena in those 
neurotics in whom these symptoms did not appear clearly in the 
usual experiment. We substantiate that which German investi- 
gators call Einjagen; by increasing the speed of the stimuli and 
creating in our subject an acute motor setting, and telling him 
to respond as quickly as possible in his movements, we obtain 
very easily extra pressures, proving that the excitation has been 
separated from the influence of the cortical regulation. 

I if 


Those phenomena, which are well known to psychologists under the 
term "preliminary reactions" and which may be observed in every sub- 
ject, and especially in the excitatory, belong to this category. A great 
difference between the preliminary reactions in the normal subjects and 
the analogous phenomena in neurotics consists chiefly in the fact that 
this process creates in the neurotic a fairly intense conflict which in a 
labile nervous system may for a certain time destroy the organised 
character of his behaviour, while the normal subject easily masters the 
preliminary impulses, and his behaviour does not suffer as a result of 
this conflict. 

3. The experiments described indicate the method by which 
we may make more difficult the reactive process and create in our 
subject a conflict of considerable intensity. This method means 
that we introduce into the experiment with the neurotic those 
conditions requiring an increased inhibition of the direct im- 
pulses and the mastery of the primitive diffuse reactive process. 
We see, therefore, subsequent difficulties in the experiments with 
the delayed movements. 

We propose to our subject that he respond to the presented 


signal by a slow motor reaction ; but at the same time we bring 
about such conditions that the reactive movements themselves 
in both of their parts, the active and passive are fairly slow. 
The subject found it necessary to bring in an inhibiting regulation 
in the system of movements; he acquired a natural tendency to 
this. In order to produce a direct disturbance of excitation in the 
impulsive motor response, he must give instead of this move- 
ment one differing from the ordinary regularity in all of its move- 
ments, and having an equable, inhibited character. 

In the normal organisation of behaviour, such a problem, obvi- 
ously, does not represent any serious difficulty, and the subject 
copes with it successfully; but naturally for the neurodynamics 
of the neurotic patient suffering from an increased excitability 
and a lowered ability to regulate, this is a problem of great diffi- 
culty and it produces a sharp conflict. Thanks to the diffuse 
structure of the reactive processes the neurotic stands here before 
a constant conflict ; the instructions produce attempts which are 
not capable of overcoming the primitive impulses, and even those 
subjects first described by us, in whom the changes in behaviour 
did not deviate from the normal, show marked symptoms of 

We have the material of about twenty-five clinically verified 
cases of neurotic patients ; in hardly a single case could we observe 
a completely normal and fairly well-organised delayed movement. 
We obtain here, as a rule, either complete inability to delay the 
movements, or an application of such inhibition to only one part 
of the reactive movement (inhibition either at one end or an 
interval), and the curve as a whole shows a lack of organisation 
and coordination. The complete regulation of the movements and 
control of the equalised delayed reactions are not to be seen 
anywhere in this material. The fact, however, is very evident, 
that the attempts to dominate these impulsive reactions and to 
master the problem produces acute conflicts in our neurotics 
leading to the disorganisation of the whole behaviour. This dis- 
turbance is reflected in the curve of the disorganisation of the 
delayed pressure, the marked impulses having a general inhibited 
curve giving it a sawtooth appearance; in the most acute cases, 
there is a complete disorganisation of behaviour with a failure of 
the reactions to all of the parts of the separate chaotic pressures. 
The experiment with the delayed reactions made it possible to 
divide our subjects into a series of groups, characteristic of the 
different degrees of destruction, and, consequently, of the grades 
of labileness of the nervous system. 


In Figure 94 we shall give a table of the separate stages of 
destruction of the neurodynamical processes in a given situation. 

The picture of the conflict during the delayed reactions is shown 
to us in its full panorama ; we see here that the problem is easily 








accomplished by the normal subject (Curve A) ; often it is im- 
possible for the neurotic, who although thinking that he is making 
a delayed pressure, is in reality giving rapid and uninhibited 
reactions (B) ; the attempts to inhibit are frequently not capable 
of extending equally over the whole process, and influence only 
one of its parts (C) ; finally the attempts to delay the movements 
lead to a conflict and the complete destruction of the behaviour 
(D, E, F). 

The experiments with the delayed movements produce numer- 
ous and considerable conflicts, and their registration makes pos- 
sible the establishment of that level at which the behaviour of 
the subject begins to show disturbances. Although in normal sub- 
jects we only occasionally encounter the signs of the extension 
to the disorganisation of behaviour at this level; in neurotic 
labileness this level of behaviour in most cases produces consider- 
able conflict, and is often accompanied by marked phenomena of 

4. In the case just described, we require the subject to inhibit 
his reaction during the process of movement; however, we may 
successfully produce a spontaneous conflict by putting the subject 
in such a situation that he must delay the direct motor impulse 
and give it only after some prepared process will have been 
finished. This can be done by the aid of a simple associative 
reaction, the concluding part of which is accompanied by a motor 

In this instance we return to that method which has been 
applied as the basic one in the whole of our investigations. Creat- 
ing in the subject a central associative process, by that means 
we evoke a certain central excitation, under normal conditions 
independent and isolated from the excitation of the motor system ; 
connecting this excitation with speech, under ordinary circum- 
stances we include a factor which has an organising influence 
on the neurodynamic reactions and does not at all disturb their 

The state of affairs is entirely different from that of the neu- 
rotic. With extreme excitability and great labileness of the nervous 
system, the tension produced by us in a central apparatus may 
manifest a tendency to flow directly into the motor area, pro- 
ducing in it certain traces of excitation and disorganising the 
normal motor curve. Under these circumstances the inclusion of 
the speech is not a strong enough agent for the organisation of 
the neurodynamic process; often in the presence of the irradia- 
tion, the speech is hardly capable of playing any organising role 


and the central tension directly causes a destruction in the accom- 
panying motor process. 

Such cases we have already seen. We shall consider here only 
certain examples showing how the markedly labile neurodynamics 
manifests a tendency to the direct destruction of the central 
tension in the motor process. Subject Maz. was a hysterical 
patient with typical hysterical attacks and symptoms. In Figure 
95 we show a series of her reactions; from the data of Curve A 
it is seen that the spontaneous rhythmical reactions do not repre- 
sent for her any great difficulty and are not accompanied by 
conflicting processes. Therefore the phenomena obtained during 
her associative reactions are the more characteristic. It was nec- 




essary for us to produce in her considerable central tension and 
it immediately gave rise to an acute motor disturbance, and the 
accompanying curve shows that the whole latent period is filled 
with the disruption of the excitation, which the subject was not 
able to overcome. We have such phenomena in all the associative 
reactions, without exception, regardless of their difficulty ; in the 
presence of great central obstructions this process becomes more 
marked, but we can see the chief mechanisms of such obstructions 
in any given case. The central tension is directly transferred to 
the motor area and it produces those disturbances in the latent 
period which we see here. 
This mechanism furnishes the basis of those disturbances in 


the latent period of the associative reaction with which we have 
become acquainted in detail above. In order that the motor 
movements accompanying the associative process should be 
markedly disturbed in the neurotic patient, it is by no means 
necessary that the reaction be connected with the affective con- 
tents; it is sufficient for it to produce a certain central tension 
which the neurotic patient cannot keep isolated from the motor 
area in the presence of the weakened regulating processes in 
the diffuse character of the reaction. This is why in numerous 
instances we observed normal reactions in the primitive stratum 
of behaviour, and a complete failure of the reactive processes at 
a more complicated level. 





The typical illustration of this is given in Figure 96. With the 
normal rhythmical pressures it is sufficient for us to introduce 
in this subject an increased central tension connected with the 
associative problem, in order that it completely disorganise the 
neurodynamical process, making the accompanying reaction actu- 
ally unrecognisable. 

5. Further experiments proceed along certain paths of the 
complex central processes and additional difficulties introduced 
into them. If at the level of the simple associative processes we 
do not obtain in some of our patients a disorganisation of be- 
haviour, then the introduction into the central process of several 
additional difficulties, increasing the tension there, inevitably 
leads to a disorganisation of the neurodynamics and to a mani- 
festation of the symptoms of the diffused excitation in all of the 


behaviour. The tendency of the transfer of the central tension 
to the motor disturbance is seen here very clearly, and this is 
shown by all the experiments we have performed on neurotics, 
including the additional difficulties introduced into the central 

We shall limit ourselves here to only one citation which again 
proves that the behaviour may be completely normal at one 
level, but markedly disorganised at another level, which latter 
represents great difficulties. 

Consequently we arranged two series of experiments with our 
neurotic patients, equivalent in the situation but different in 
complexity. In the first of these, we propose to the subject to 
give simple judgments on the presentation of words; in the 
second series, we ask him to make these definitions senseless, 

^r f ^\r\f^^^ 


-r-i ii i ' *~- 

S 478 


r/< M*-ST 




answering to each given word in an absurd manner. The experi- 
ment showed that to follow these instructions was not so easy; 
the subject must deviate from the usual experiment and give 
the opposite kind of answers, but according to a purely verbal 
and logical plan. For a person with defective verbal culture and 
with concrete thoughts such a problem was very difficult, and 
within the limits of the same structure of the answer it was 
possible to introduce into the neurodynamics a marked central 

The results were very definite. Although the signs of the con- 
flict were absent in the normal experiment, in a complex control 
series they were clearly expressed, and the behaviour became 


acutely disorganised. Figure 97 presents such an example, taken 
from an experiment on a hysterical patient not showing any 
symptoms of disturbances in the comparatively easier stages of 
the reactive processes. Here we see entirely normal reactions 
with simple judgments, and marked disorganisation (passing 
over to the passive system of the left hand) in the presence of a 
complex central process. 

The necessity of restraining the central tension, created under 
these conditions from a direct participation in the motor system 
leads here to a sharp conflict with a diffused structure of the re- 
active processes, and conditions a failure of the behaviour, falling 
at one or another level, depending upon the degree of labileness 
of our subject's nervous system. 


IF in the neurotic subjects which we have been dealing with in 
this chapter, even the simple reactive processes are connected 
with spontaneous manifestation of conflicts, then the seances 
dealing with the experimental introduction of conflicting proc- 
esses show that conflicts connected with even the most primitive 
levels of behaviour may cause acute disturbances. If in the 
neurotic we actually observe considerable excitation connected 
with free access of all the excitation with the motor area, and a 
markedly lowered regulating ability, then it will not be sur- 
prising that our subject is frequently unable to cope with a 
conflict even of a very primitive type. 

We have performed control series of experiments with experi- 
mental conflicts, analogous to those described above, on neurotic 
patients. A consideration of them takes us back to former mate- 
rial, and we therefore will not go into details concerning them; 
following up the problem of this chapter we shall deal with 
only two variations of a single conflict, investigated by us at 
different levels of behaviour. 

i. We shall return at first to the simple conflict of accelera- 
tion. We have already noted that the normal subject handles 
pretty well simple problems of change from one reactive speed 
to another. When in the experiment with the simple rhythmical 
tapping we propose to the subject at a given signal that he 
quickly decrease his velocity, he overcomes the inertia and 
makes the transfer readily. 

In neurotic subjects we may expect other results. If in the 
transfer from a slow speed to a rapid one in the simple motor 


experiments there is no perceptible difficulty, then in the ex- 
periment where at our signal the subject must, on the contrary, 
alter the velocity from rapid to slow, we place before him two 
obstacles: on the one hand, the speed he has adopted acquires 
a certain, and sometimes very considerable inertia ; with a weak 
regulating apparatus he is not able to master this inertia, and 
after the signal for the alteration the subject continues to give 
numerous pressures, often occurring without noticeable inhibi- 
tion. On the other hand, an additional complication comes in 
here: the slow movements of themselves represent for the dif- 
fuse neurodynamics of our subject a considerable difficulty ; and 
it is comprehensible why we should obtain acute conflicts here. 

The data of our investigations prove that the given experiment 
acquires those features characteristic of the conflict at its lower 
level. Some of the neurotics, especially those who at the more 
stable reactive processes, have not yet given marked disturb- 
ances here; but in others we have seen a great disorganisation 
of behaviour. 

Figure 98 gives a section of the curves showing the mechanism 
of the failure of the reactive process in the given case. It is easily 
seen that the mechanism of the conflict here consists in this: 
that the speed adopted by the subject can not be immediately 
inhibited, and in the attempts to change this to a slower velocity, 
the original speed is continued as a perseveration, heaping up 
on the slow reaction and destroying its form. 

This phenomenon convinces us that we have here a conflicting 
process with which the regulative apparatus can successfully cope 
in only a few of our subjects. We are led to believe that if in 
this process there is created much inertia, causing a great ten- 
sion, we can, without changing the method, produce many 

2. We proceed along the same path, transferring the experi- 
ment to another stratum of behaviour, including in it the speech 
mechanisms. We introduce in neurotic material those experi- 
ments with the conflict of acceleration in a chain associative 
series, as was done in the normal subject in our former exam- 
inations. The subject is required to recite consecutively all the 
words coming into his mind, accompanying each with a pres- 
sure. At the given signal he must quickly change to another 
velocity, having begun to associate either with a maximal rate 
or, vice versa, as slowly as possible. 

Experiments thus performed have led to the establishment 
of both symptoms which we have seen in less marked degree in 



R,. N..U- 






our previous researches with normal subjects. The signal for the 
increased velocity produces here simultaneously a complete inhi- 
bition of the associative processes and a marked emancipation 
of the motor system from the influence of a cortical regulation. 
Both of these symptoms were brought out very clearly. The 
attempts to increase the speed resulted chiefly in a marked 
confusion with refusal to associate ("I cannot think of any- 
thing/ 7 "nothing comes into my mind, I can not think further") ; 
on the other hand, one may think precisely this rupture of the 
higher psychological activity produces the emancipation of the 
motor system, and, creating the tension, was directly transferred 



to the motor area, producing there disturbances not coordinated 
with the speech function. 

In Figure 99 we show an example of such a process. Both of 
the cases prove that the attempts to transfer the subject imme- 
diately to the maximal speed of association result in an inhibition 
of the associative processes connected with the hyperexcitability, 
and the marked transfer of the tension to the emancipated motor 
reaction. Under these conditions the attempts to inhibit the 
emancipated motor system and to pass over to a state of organ- 
ised behaviour readily call out a conflict and disorganisation 
of the reactive process. 


Cases illustrating the process of such failure will not be given 
here; but in all of our neurotic subjects we have seen this 

All the neurotics give us such a reaction of disorganisation, 
more or less clearly marked in this experiment, and we are 
convinced that the experiments showing instability of the reac- 
tive process at the lower levels, show them also in a certain 
form when they are complicated by new difficulties and dis- 
placed toward more intricate levels of the psychophysiological 


BECAUSE we consider the stratified analysis essential for a typo- 
logical study of personality, we have dwelt on the facts at such 
length in this chapter. What we have discussed here shows that 
the general characters of the typological differences, the referring 
of our subjects to the stable or labile groups of nervous systems, 
requires changing the concrete characteristic of that tendency 
which we consider fundamental for the formulation of the neuro- 
dynamic peculiarities. All the previous analyses showed that such 
tendencies, lying at the bottom of the individual differences, are 
the unequal ability to inhibit the beginning excitation, separat- 
ing it from the motor sphere ; in other words, at the basis of our 
classifying personalities into one or another group we consider 
an unequal diffuseness in the activity of their nervous system, 
the unequal role which it plays in the regulation of the begin- 
ning excitation. The further the excitation reaches, directly 
striving to extend to its motor termination, the less the subject 
is able to inhibit the conflicts arising and the difficulties result- 
ing from isolation from the motor sphere, and the more right 
we have to speak of the given subject as the neurodynamically 
labile type. The more developed in him the regulative processes, 
the greater his ability to prevent the excitation from reaching 
the motor termination, restraining it by some "functional bar- 
rier" and supporting it until the transfer to the motor system 
by some previous elaboration, the more justification we have 
to speak of the subject as the neurodynamically stable type, 
and the fewer the chances of an actual disorganisation of the 
reaction resulting from conflicts. 

The question arises whether to change the external descrip- 
tion of the type by the study of the dynamic mechanisms which 
form it. Without such an indication of the dynamical mechanism 


we would not have an actual scientific typology; a weakness 
of all contemporary typology is that it is too much occupied 
with a description of the individual differences, and too little 
with the individual peculiarities of the dynamical changes of 
some of the leading mechanisms. This analysis of the destruction 
of the organised behaviour during special conflicting processes 
lays the foundation for such a differential analysis, at the basis 
of which is the study of the definite leading mechanisms. 

This is the path along which we intend to go, availing our- 
selves of an important methodological possibility. Studying the 
degree of organisation of behaviour at different levels, substan- 
tiating the influence of the conflict on the failure of the reactive 
process in the stratified analysis, we approached the possibility 
of expressing the individual differences in several dynamical 
units, discarding the absolute reference of the subjects to one 
or another statistical "type." Establishing that in the different 
subjects the disturbances of behaviour are clearly expressed only 
at a definite level of activity, we are able to describe the labile- 
ness of his behaviour in special stages, using successfully cate- 
gorical measures with categorical qualities, and thus making our 
individual analysis dynamic. On the other hand, studying the 
structure of the peculiarities of that process in the presence of 
which the behaviour manifests an acute disturbance, we are in a 
position to substantiate the analysis of the conditions of this 
disturbance, and to speak of the functional peculiarities of that 
decree of labileness with which we are dealing. 

Experiments performed on neurotic patients prove that the 
detailed analysis is the only path to a scientific approach toward 
the individual differences, and that only in the categorical meas- 
ures and qualities can we express the individual peculiarities of 
the neurodynamics in the subjects studied by us. 

In our comparative typological analysis we must each time decide 
two questions: in what degree is the labileness of the neurodynamics 
manifested in a given subject, and, secondly, what structure characterises 
the usual failure of the behaviour? The answer to the first question 
provides a dynamical analysis of the reactions of our subject at the 
definite levels of his behaviour; the second problem is decided by a study 
of the following: what qualities have the disturbances, in what stage is 
it, what are its reciprocal parts in the disorganisation of the somatic and 
vegetative systems, is the inhibited and deformed setting of the subject 
passive or active, intentional or formulative. The detailed analysis of the 
personality, obviously, cannot be reckoned previously; we have touched 
only on some sides of this work; some have been dealt with in our 
experiments in detail; other questions (for example, reciprocal relations 
of the somatic and vegetative reactions in the disorganisation of behaviour) 


have not been taken up at all; 1 the whole dynamical analysis of the 
typological differences is the task of the future, and we shall here express 
only a few generalities relating to this problem. 

We shall illustrate the detailed analysis of the individual variations 
by only two cases of hysteria. Before us are two patients, both having 
a confirmed diagnosis of hysteria. Both of them had hysterical attacks, 
and both had a very labile and sensitive nervous system. However, there 
are some marked clinical differences in them: 

Patient Mor., 29 years old, female, factory labourer. She came to the 
doctor complaining of pain in the region of the heart, disability of the 
hands, and systematic attacks. At first the attacks appeared to be con- 
vulsions, and then when she saw another woman having seizures with 
loss of consciousness and shrieking, her attacks assumed the same form. 
Forgetful, confused, intensely excitable, inability to restrain herself; 
sharply increased reflexes; skin hyperaesthesia. 

Patient Mozh., female, 43 years old, cashier in shop. Complains of 
pain in the region of the heart and convulsive seizures. During these, 
consciousness is not lost and she can control herself for some time. 
In general she is very restrained; she does not relate her experiences 
frankly; never cries; she is very emotional and sensitive, however. The 
chief conflict is connected with a change to a new job which she does 
not like and in which she feels incapable. Tremor of the fingers, increased 
tendon reflexes, dermatographia. 

The marked differences in the characteristics lead us to believe that 
a careful analysis of the neurodynamical systems in both cases will show 
us considerable differences in the degree of diffuseness of excitation as 
well as in the structure of their distribution in the neurodynamics of the 
subjects. While in the first subject we can presuppose a great primitive- 
ness and diffusion of the reactive processes, with a more open manifesta- 
tion of the excitation in the motor system, the properties of the second 
indicate that the general excitability and predisposition to acute conflicts 
is inhibited here, the patient tries to restrain herself at a certain stage 
of organisation, but this she can accomplish only on a certain psychical 
level; in view of this character of the psychophysiological processes we 
may expect here an intense concentration of the disturbances beginning 
to be manifested only at a certain level of complexity of the psychological 

The stratified analysis of the neurodynamics of both of the subjects 
confirm our suppositions. In each case we obtain very different results 
in degree as well as in the structure of the labileness of the neurody- 
namical processes observed. Figure 100 summarises these. Analysing the 
reactive processes in the first of our subjects, we see that she cannot 
deal with even the first of our experiments; indeed, in the simple rhyth- 
mical tapping the marked excitation begins to participate, which is a 
symptom of a strong tendency to mobilise the excitation and sometimes 
is not able to master the reactive process. 

This excitation is very marked in the experiments with the simple 
reactions to a signal, and even at the level of the slowed movements, 

1 In the works of V. N. Myasnischtheva this is discussed. See his Reciprocal 
Relations of the Vegetative and Somatic Reactions, Psychoneurological Science 
in the U.S.S.R., Leningrad, 1930. 







the neurodynamics of the subject is disturbed; she cannot solve the 
problem, and as a result of the trial to make an organised slow reaction 
there is a wide-spread disorganisation of behaviour. The introduction 
of the speech reactions and consequently the excitation of the additional 
central foci finally disorganises the behaviour, and the chaotic motor 
disturbances bear witness to the tension introduced into the psyche of 
the patient. 

The reactive processes of subject Mozh. give us an entirely different 
picture of the dynamic disruptions. In the simpler stratum of reactions 
in the simple rhythmical tapping we do not observe any abnormality. 
Only very slight variations differentiate this level of behaviour from 
the usual neurodynamic picture. But already in the experiments with 
simple reactions to a signal there is a marked change. Characteristic for 
our patient were the concurrent impulsive pressures, not connected with 
the signals, and even after the inhibition, which showed very clearly 
the increased tendency of the excitation to pass over into activity, the 
augmented inertia of the excitation, and, on the other hand, the percep- 
tible weakness of the regulating system. The transfer to the slow move- 
ments did not disorganise this subject, although the impulsive character 
of the reactions is well manifested here; the patient remained fairly calm 


even in the experiments with the associative answers. However, we meet 
here with a sudden and intense disorganisation of behaviour. When the 
subject is given a word producing a considerable difficulty, the reaction 
to it serves to relieve the neurodynamics from a contact with the marked 
disorganisation of the motor reactions. This occurs, with the correspond- 
ing differences, even in cases of complex reactions and of decidedly in- 
tellectual difficulties. At this level of activity the neurodynamics manifests 
its insufficiency, and the disturbance of the behaviour proves that we have 
here a level of behaviour critical for the subject. 

The differences in these two cases consist in the degree of the neuro- 
dynamical labileness, but this not all. The varying activity of the conflict, 
its fluctuating extent of irradiation, and finally the varying participation 
of the motor system in the conflict create a structure specific for each 
case, and compel us to think here of different structures of the hysterical 

We are convinced that under the general term "hysteria" there are 
included very divergent neurodynamical processes. The detailed investiga- 
tion of the neurodynamics helps us to unveil the exact picture of those 
disturbances which are thrown together under the usual name of hysteria, 
and to describe exactly those differences, and finally to classify them into 

The analysis given leads us to believe that a careful study 
of the mechanism of the individual differences is incomparably 
more complete and concrete than the general usual description 
of the external peculiarities. The study of the conflicting proc- 
esses constitute the fundamental mechanism of the disorgani- 
sation of human behaviour, and brings to light very important 

However, we cannot yet state that the processes we are study- 
ing are entirely comprehensible. They will be clear only if we 
are able to understand the processes in all of their dynamics, 
but this places before us two final problems of maximal com- 
plexity, but also of a decisive nature in the investigation of the 
disorganisation and organisation of human behaviour. 

The first of these problems has to do with the cortical disor- 
ganisation and organisation of behaviour. Having seen the 
mechanics of the conflicting processes and their influence on the 
destruction of behaviour, we are convinced that the laws of this 
disorganisation will be fully comprehensible when we are able 
to give their genetic analysis, approaching their study by the 
historical method. Only by a careful investigation of those suc- 
cessive stages through which the organised behaviour in the 
transition from child to adult passes, can we thoroughly under- 
stand in what degree the facts observed by us in the affective 
and conflicting processes originate only at some more primitive 
stages of development of the neurodynamical processes and how 


we stand here before those varied inclusions which can help to 
make the process of destruction only partially an approach to 
the given levels, never allowing them to coincide. The genetic 
analysis of organised human behaviour makes it possible to 
evaluate the observed laws and to put each one of them in its 
respective place in that complex system which represents the 
behaviour of the human. 

On the other hand, before us stands another tremendous prob- 
lem. We cannot represent human behaviour simply as an arena 
in which affects and conflicts play. The human does not only 
experience a failure of his behaviour, but he tries to master it, 
to control it. We have studied the mechanisms of destruction, 
but we stand before the no less important problem of the inves- 
tigation of the mechanisms of organisation. The separate de- 
scriptions of the laws we have given are comprehensible for us 
only when we consider in some details those means which the 
human applies in overcoming his behaviour, and those stages 
through which this mastery of behaviour passes. 

If all of our efforts have been so far directed to the analysis 
of the conditions causing the destruction and disorganisation of 
behaviour, then now we must return resolutely to the considera- 
tion of the factors and means of overcoming this disorganisation 
and of controlling human behaviour. 

In addition to the problem of the neurodynamics of neuroses 
there is the problem of the psychological basis of therapy. This 
should be studied by the same experimental methods which we 
have used already in the investigation of the disorganisation of 
human behaviour. We have no more hope to solve the problem 
of the psychological basis and neurodynamical mechanisms of 
the mastery of behaviour and therapy than we have that our 
investigation will give a fundamental and exhaustive foundation 
for the understanding of disorganisation and neuroses. We be- 
lieve, however, that only experiments dedicated to the genetic 
analysis of the organised forms of behaviour and the experi- 
mental study of their control can give us a foundation upon 
which we may make a contribution to the contemporary growth 
of knowledge. 

We recognise that we become acquainted with phenomena only 
by understanding them. The third part of our investigation will 
be devoted to the attempt to control these processes experi- 







THAT AFFECT basically changes the structure of the 
reactive processes, destroying the organised behaviour, 
and converting the reactive process into a diffused one, 
has been shown already. Experimental tests proved that such a 
change of structure of the reactive processes occurs each time 
the behaviour becomes conflicting in its nature; the collision 
of the opposing tendencies breaks down the "functional barrier" 
and transforms the reaction into a diffused state of excitation. 

We have analysed the mechanisms of the disorganisation in 
human behaviour ; before us now is the problem of the genesis 
of the organised forms of its activity. 

In what way does the disturbance of the psychophysiological 
mechanisms during the failures of the normal, regulating be- 
haviour occur? Does the affect create in the neurosis new forms 
of behaviour, or does it only throw the individual back on some 
old mechanisms? 

The world literature of the last few decades has shown a 
marked tendency to accept the second point of view, supporting 
arguments that the destruction of human behaviour only makes 
the individual revert backward through many generations, so 
that the affect returns to ancient phases of behaviour and the 
neurosis regresses toward an archaic stage of development. 

Darwin considered affect as a vital primitive sort of behaviour, 
and in each symptom of affect he saw the origin of the primordial, 
archaic forms of reaction. 

This, in addition to the findings of comparative anatomy, 
strengthened the view that affect, considered neurologically, rep- 
resents a transfer from the cortical type of excitation to that 



which is connected with the subcortical ganglia; these form the 
ancient parts of the brain and are the seat of the archaic types 
of processes. 

This shows how confused were the attempts to express the 
qualitative peculiarities of these states in the terms of regres- 
sion to the previous phases; this approach makes use of its 
own intrinsic system of dynamics ; but is it really more satisfac- 
tory for the investigator than when he tries to reveal the new 
and incomprehensible phenomena as only a stage of the former 
genetic path? 

The genetic approach and its desire to comprehend the forms 
of the vital activity as phases of development is without doubt 
one of the most daring scientific adventures and contains within 
it the golden kernels of dialectics. However, precisely this obliges 
us to refer very cautiously to those increases which are con- 
nected with the attempts to see in the newly elaborated disturb- 
ance only a simple return to the primitive paths. Without doubt 
the disturbance, cutting off the more complex higher forms 
of the regulating capacities, is manifested chiefly in the stratum 
of the primitive, previously experienced forms of behaviour; we 
are fully justified in presupposing that the disorganised behaviour 
occurs, not along accidental, ad hoc intricate paths, but it usurps 
the role of the lower functions which were already formed. But 
it is also certain that these higher mechanisms will not be com- 
plete, but that they remain in the new form of behaviour as a 
partial aspect, just as in the normal behaviour the archaic, primi- 
tive forms of reaction preserve their partial aspect, having col- 
lided on the level of the first plan. We may suppose that the 
process studied by us will occur not so much according to the 
scheme of the simple regression, as to the scheme of the rever- 
sion, in which the archaic and higher elaborations changed places, 
so to speak, because in the newly destroyed form of behaviour 
these latter continue to play a certain perverted role. This is 
why in every destruction we must necessarily expect a return 
to some of the former stages of development, but these mani- 
festations of the reappearing, archaic forms will naturally be 
different in people of different cultural states, different types and 
different individual peculiarities. 

In our investigations we must not, consequently, look for a 
simple regression of behaviour, disorganised by affect or con- 
flict so that it represents a primitive phase of development; 
there arises the important problem of studying these former 


stages of development in order to understand those character- 
istic mechanisms forming the skeleton of those higher regulations 
of human behaviour which have been destroyed. 

A certain path seems to us to be the correct one in the solu- 
tion of this problem; desiring to answer the question, exactly 
which neurodynamical mechanisms of affect revert to the former 
phases of development, we must first take up the ontogenesis 
of the reactive processes and turn our attention to the study 
of the neurodynamical properties of childhood. From this inves- 
tigation we may properly expect the establishment of many 
qualitative peculiarities of the reactions typical in the early 
stages of growth; having already investigated these, we may 
conclude from the factors in the failure of human behaviour 
(which we have already studied), that the neurodynamics of 
the person reverts to a former, early stage. 

We decided to take up two questions which one must solve 
experimentally : 

1. Does the reaction of the child differ in its structure from 
the reaction of the adult, and does it have in any degree that 
quality of diffusiveness which we saw in the conflict and in the 
state of affect? 

2. If the "functional barrier," the lowering of which we estab- 
lished during affect, conflict, and neurosis, is indeed lowered in 
the young child, then under what conditions is it destroyed and 
to what mechanisms does it belong? 

The first question relates to the development of the reactive 
processes; the second is connected with the problem of control 
of the behaviour. In the ensuing chapters we shall attempt to 
solve them experimentally. 

In regard to the latter subject, we shall concern ourselves with our 
own work, and, as well, with that of our collaborators. Some of these 
researches were done in the Institute of Experimental Psychology, some 
in the Psychological Laboratory of the Communistic Academy, and finally, 
the investigations on nervous diseases in the laboratory of the clinic of 
nervous diseases at the First Moscow University. From the researches of 
our collaborators we have used chiefly those of Lebedensky, performed 
in our laboratory over a number of years, whose monograph on the de- 
velopment of the regulating processes will appear shortly. 

This exposition is constructed, as is a clinical one, dealing with sepa- 
rate typical cases and omitting all statistics, which the reader will find 
partly in other of our papers, and partly in the above-mentioned re- 
searches of Lebedensky. In our opinion the described phases and tend- 
encies of development are able to give us a better analysis than volumes 
of statistically elaborated material. 


The main proposition, which seems to us proven by a series 
of our experiments, is as follows: the reactive processes of the 
human complete the development, which by no means consists 
in the gradual combinations of the earlier given mechanisms, but, 
on the contrary, their development is distinguished by the con- 
flicting characteristics passing over into qualitatively new phases, 
included in the new regulated mechanisms, and the reactions 
of the young child differ fundamentally in their structure from 
those of the adult. 

These properties of the reactive processes in the child remind 
us of the mechanisms which we have already discussed. They 
refer to two situations, mentioned previously in this book: 
(i) every act of behaviour in the young child has a direct char- 
acter, and the excitation arising manifests a tendency, not to be 
restrained, but to proceed to its motor termination ; and (2) every 
reaction exhibits the ability to carry along in the active process 
an inadequately large mass of excitation. 

We may state that diffusion and impulsiveness are funda- 
mental features of the reactive processes of the young child. 
These characteristics explain the very special peculiarities in the 
behaviour, thinking, and personality of the child; they reveal 
to us the genetic roots of those neurodynamical deformities which 
are found in the disorganisation of human behaviour in the states 
of affect, conflict, and neurosis. 

We shall examine successively several groups of experiments 
performed by us on children. In these we shall try to discover 
the development of the organised forms of behaviour at the 
different (in their complexity) neurodynamical stages, exactly as 
we have previously attempted to give a stratified analysis of the 
disturbances of the neurodynamical processes. We shall be well 
satisfied if, parallel with the examination of the functional 
peculiarities of the reactive processes at an early age, we shall 
succeed in observing some of their psychological mechanisms. 


IN the mechanisms of the affective and conflicting processes we 
have already observed the fact that the neurodynamics shows 
symptoms of disorganisation, as a rule, only at a definite level 
of complexity of the reactive processes. In a number of reactive 
processes, differing in their complexities according to the age, 
the simple rhythmical pressures were preeminent; even in the 
more affectively excitatory subjects they occurred usually in a 


fairly well-organised way, and with the mobilisation of very large 
masses of excitation (which was generally met with in some of 
our neurotics) in order that the rhythmical reactions be de- 

We decided to begin our genetic investigation with this very 
simple neurodynamical process, in order that we might begin 
as low as possible on the genetic ladder. 

Our experiments with the simple rhythmical reactions were 
conducted in children beginning at two and a half years of age 
and concluding with those of school age. The experiments made 
possible the establishment of certain peculiarities of the neuro- 
dynamical processes in the child, which serve as a foundation 
for further investigations. 

The technique of the experiment was very simple: the child was seated 
in front of a pneumatic apparatus, and he was told to make rhythmical 
pressures at any speed he desired. 

In older children this constituted the whole procedure; but in the 
very young ones (those too small to attend school), we reinforced the 
method by certain measures to ensure their observance of the instruc- 
tions and their participation in the experiment. One of these was "the 
paired experiment," in which the child at first watched another child 
several years older running through the experiment ; after this the younger 
one began to imitate him. This method gave excellent results. In certain 
cases we introduced the element of play, being careful, however, that 
this did not disturb the basic fundamental setting of the experiment 

The instructions to make rhythmical movements, generally 
following one another rather rapidly, presupposes a fairly high 
development of the cortical processes; only with a fairly well- 
organised action of the motor cortex, with development of the 
higher cortical automatisms, could we reckon on obtaining an 
accurate picture of similar rhythmical pressures. 

Precisely these factors are absent in the young child, and 
what we see there is evidence of a series of specific peculiarities, 
properties of the neurodynamics at the given age. We intention- 
ally do not discuss here the fact that slight movements are still 
not well developed at that age with which we begin our analysis. 
We are much more interested in those neurodynamical properties 
which we can trace in the activity of those, as yet fairly well- 
developed, systems. Such an examination makes it possible to 
draw certain conclusions concerning the neurodynamical basis 
of this lack of development. 

The first thing that strikes us in this material is that each 
beginning cortical process readily passes over in the young child 


to the subcortical mechanisms, rapidly depriving this process of 
its pure cortical character and involving intricate diffused proc- 
esses. To trace these was not very difficult. The younger the 
child, the more clearly do we observe these processes. 

In Figure 101 we submit a case, one of the earliest of the ex- 
perimental, psychological investigations of neurodynamics known 
to us: the curve of this figure is taken from an experiment per- 
formed on a little girl two years and three months old. 

The curves in the preceding figure bring out two fundamental 
properties : the subject begins with rather regular pressures, after 
two reactions tonic components appear, which then extend 
through the succeeding reactions; on the other hand, the reac- 
tions themselves become irregular, losing their organised char- 
acter. These two factors are extremely characteristic of the 
early neurodynamics, and give us a basis on which we can 
trace the development of the neurodynamic processes ; they reveal 
two chief features of the neurodynamical processes in a very 
young child. The first of these is the inability to elaborate the 
higher cortical automatisms; that which is easily accomplished 
by the adult is impossible for the child. A series of equal, regular 
pressures readily and automatically given by the adult, evidently 
requires a very high organisation of the cortex, lacking in the 
child; that which the adult does automatically, the child per- 
forms without that elaboration of the reactive formulae lying 
at the basis of this process in the adult ; * as a result we see 
unstable and unequal processes, having in some children a very 
marked form. 

Secondly, the characteristics described here are especially 
typical for the neurodynamics of early childhood; the appear- 
ance of marked tonic components proves that the beginning exci- 
tation evidently is not restrained in a limited cortical system, but 
has a diffused character, extending over the whole of the cerebral 
apparatus, and spreading even into the sub-cortical activity. 
This introduction into every activity of inadequately large 
masses of excitation, and at the same time into the sub-cortical 
excitation, is typical for early childhood and is the foundation 
upon which is laid the further development of the process. 

The tonic phenomena, whose presence we have established, 
continue for a very long time; as a rule, they are always seen 
in children up to seven years old, and begin then only to drop 
out as the higher cortical processes become better developed (see 
Curves B and C, Figure 101). Indeed in adults we may easily 

1 See M. O. Gurevitch, Psychomotorika, Moscow, 1930. 



FS-N* M C 





evoke them by instructing the subject to produce the reactions 
at a maximal speed; in neurotics these phenomena have a defi- 
nitely expressed form, showing more prominently the tonic 
phenomena than do the more excitatory subjects. 


WE might think that the simple reaction to a signal is such an 
elementary process that the genetic investigation cannot show 
any perceptible difference between its course in the adult and 
in the child. Authors who have considered psychology as a science 
of reactions have silently taken for granted that this process is 
maximally elementary and maximally unchangeable during the 
course of the whole development. 

Nevertheless, experiments do not confirm this premise. The 
reaction to a signal, as we know it in the human adult, is a 
product of very complex development, an elaboration which 
arises on the basis of other, considerably more primitive processes. 
"The simple reaction" in young children differs from the reac- 
tion of adults in having another structure, and characterised by 
a marked specificity of the diffused excitation, a weakness of 
those higher regulating mechanisms which are undoubtedly 
a basic phenomenon in the neurodynamics of the adult. The 
development of the reactive processes from child to adult does 
not by any means take place by the quantitative improvement 
of the process but through a qualitative change in structure 
overcoming primordial diffusiveness and passing over into a new, 
controlling, intricate, functional, organised structure of the re- 

Those simple movements which we speak of as "simple reac- 
tions" of the adult are, really, very late formations, built up 
on the basis of the suppressed, diffused system of the primitive 

In our investigation we used children from two and a half 
years to about seven or eight; the picture obtained was very 
similar in all the children. 1 

The reactions to the signal in the young child (usually four 
or five years old, but sometimes older) showed that each signal 
mobilised a large amount of excitation, which the cortical activity 
of the child was not able to control. 

1 We used thirty children from the work of M. C. Lebedinsky to which we 
have added material from eighty-five other children. The similarity of the 
results made it possible for us to limit ourselves to this number of subjects. 


Each stimulus produces in the young child many movements, 
spread out over a large part of the experiment and only gradually 
becoming inhibited. In the youngest of the children the signs 
of such a control of the successive developing impulses, yet not 
entirely perceptible, has the character of a continuous, chaotic, 
"spontaneous" activity, not at all regulated by the stimulus. 
Figure io2A gives a section of the protocol of an experiment 
done with a child two years and three months of age, the rhythmi- 
cal reactions of which have been given above. 

This figure shows that the spontaneous pressures are hardly 
at all connected with the external signal, but, on the other hand, 
may even be inhibited by this signal. Nevertheless, the extra im- 
pulses not connected with the signal are not inhibited and 
continue to act spontaneously. Such a picture is characteristic, 
as a rule, for a child of two to two and a half years old, in which 
under the conditions of the experiment it is still very difficult 
to bring about a differentiation from the general excitation of 
the organised reaction. 

In children from three to three and a half years we meet 
with another picture, a typical example of which is given in 
Figure 1026: the separate pressures begin to be readily coordi- 
nated with the signal, but the child is not able to inhibit the 
succeeding excitation, and the free interval following the signal 
is usually filled by one or several extra pressures. Here for the 
first time is formulated the fact which is very characteristic for 
the neurodynamics of the early stages of development ; the child 
is not capable of restraining the spontaneous impulse taking place 
within him, and the cortical regulating apparatus is delayed, the 
inhibition is reflected not in active pressures, but in the passive 
parts of the additional pressures. Typical for such a case Is 
Reaction 19 in Figure 1026. The impulsiveness makes its way 
through the pent-up regulating apparatus, the beginning exci- 
tation manifests a tendency to pass directly to its motor termi- 
nation, but the regulating restraint is delayed and occurs not 
before the final impulse, but after. The specific structure of the 
reactive process is conditioned to this, with the direct transfer 
of excitation to the motor sphere; as we shall see, this is char- 
acteristic for other more intricate aspects of the activity of the 

All the further development of the reactive processes consists primarily 
in the development of this ability to restrain the remaining impulses and 



to overcome the amount of excitation caused by the stimulus. M. C. 
Lebedinsky introduced the term "coefficient of inhibition" for this process. 

K *i X^ 

K ~ h> X d* 

where h l and h 2 = the intensity of the adequate and inadequate pres- 
sures, and d t and d 2 correspond to the breadth of their base. Detailed 
analysis indicated that this coefficient adequately reflects the dynamics 
of the regulating processes and indicates their extension in the develop- 
ment of the child; as a rule this coefficient is reflected in its comparatively 
small size in young children, reaching its maximum about the age of 
seven, and disappearing in adults, for they do not give any inadequate 
extra pressures. 

This does not hold, however, for every adult. Ordinarily it is sufficient 
only to increase the cortical load, by increasing the number of successive 
signals, in order to obtain in any subject an inadequate impulse, occur- 
ring notwithstanding the sudden curtailment of the giving of the signals. 
This phenomenon was described by some physiologists (Zeliony), and 
then it was used as a test for automatism and voluntary control in a 
system of psychological investigation (Rossolimo). 1 The experiments 
show without doubt that the similar, remaining, impulsive reactions 
are clearly seen where the general neurodynamical tonus of the excita- 
tion is increased, and the complicated regulating mechanisms are weak- 
ened. The neurotic subjects in this experiment approach closely to the 
scheme of the early neurodynamic reactions, preserving the specificity 
for the given stage of development of the neurodynamics. 

A certain phenomenon demands our attention: if the reac- 
tions of the young child were not accustomed to the external 
stimulus, and were deprived of the restraining extra impulses 
of inhibition, then they were fairly normal and regular in form. 
Only with the development of the child and with the appearance 
of the restrained extra impulses, do the reactions begin to have 
an irregular, disturbed character. This fact shows that at the 
basis of the ability to give a unified reaction to the signal there 
lies genetically the conflicting process, included in the necessity 
to overcome the extra, impulsive reactions and to control those 
inadequate large amounts of excitation, which, thanks to the 
diffused character of the child's neurodynamics, enter into the 
action every time that the stimulus is presented. 

If in the adult the simple reaction begins again to have a 
regular form, then this occurs only because next to the develop- 
ment of the cortical regulations there appears the ability to 
mobilise for the reactions an adequate quantity of excitation. 
This requires, moreover, the inclusion of specific, new mecha- 

1 Rossolimo, Psychological Profiles. A Plan of the Investigation of Children, 
1910. The Basis of Psychomechanisms, 1927. 


isms, and, as we shall see further on, they are actually included 
in the reactive processes of the human adult. 

We should like to note only one fact characteristic of the diffused 
structure of the reactive processes in the young child. If the reactive 
movements of the child have the direct character and are the immediate 
continuation of that excitation which was produced in the subject by 
the stimulus, then it follows as a matter of course that the augmentation 
of the stimulus should cause a direct increase of the motor result. 

Such an effect is generally seen in the child. His movements customarily 
reflect directly the intensiveness of the given stimulus; the strengthening 
of the stimulus brings about the marked reactive impulse, the stimulus 
having a certain normal intensity, passes over into a state of shock and 
exhibits a disturbed motor reaction. 

Such a reflection of the intensity of the signal is not generally seen 
in adult normal subjects. The increase of the strength of the signal 
does not always cause a corresponding increase of the intensity of the 
motor reaction, and this is evidence that the structure of the reactive 
process is different in the adult from what it is in the child. We come 
to the conclusion that between the stimulus and the reaction in the 
adult lies a certain regulating mechanism which causes a corresponding 
transfer of excitation to the motor path, but does not admit to the motor 
system the whole quantity of excitation which was produced by the 
stimulus. We are led to believe that the psychological reactions of the 
normal adult control a special organisation, differing from the simple 
reflex and from the diffused reaction of the child. 

It is interesting that precisely such a separation of the motor result 
from the direct connection with the excitation evoked by the stimulus 
is lost in the neurotic. Here we obtain a definite change of the motor 
reactions in response to the increased intensity of the stimulus, and the 
picture of the direct reflection in the motor reactions of the receptory 
excitation appears in a clearer form. 

The analysis of the simple reactions to a signal confirms our 
belief that the reactive processes in the early stages of develop- 
ment are sharply differentiated by their diffuse structure: the 
beginning excitation mobilises immediately a considerable (and 
inadequate) amount of energy, which the cortical apparatus 
cannot control ; hence the extra impulses, following adequate re- 
actions, usually observed in the reactions of children ; the devel- 
opment of the regular reactive movements requires primarily a 
restraint of these inadequate impulses, and is thus based on the 
conflict of the cortical regulations with the primitive, diffused 
excitation ; the whole development of the neurodynamics consists 
in the creation of a "functional barrier" separating the excitation 
from the direct transfer to the motor system and to the elabora- 
tion of those standard forms of reactions in the presence of which 
the subject is able to mobilise accurately the amount of exci- 
tation required by the situation. 



THE diffused character of the early neurodynamics stands out 
in strong relief in those cases where we study the processes 
requiring a very intensive regulation of the excitation. 

We can take two such cases: the first, when the movement 
itself must be completed with maximal delay; second, when the 
delay must be carried forward, preceding the movement, and 
when the movement itself must be finished only after the pre- 
liminary delay and production of the definite coupling-up effect. 

The first conditions are fulfilled in the study of the delayed 
instructions of movement; the second, in the experiments with 
the complex reactions connected with the situation of choice. 

We begin with the investigation of the delayed movements ; in 
many cases this experiment seems to be decisive. 

Many considerations impel us to the study of the develop- 
ment of the regulating processes precisely in the delayed move- 
ments. The higher regulations appearing in the control of 
behaviour should not be studied in the manifestation of the maxi- 
mal activity: every small child is already capable of such a direct 
activity. Our path must be exactly the opposite, and the appear- 
ance of the regulating possibilities should be studied in the 
reverse process in the delay of the direct impulses, in the 
delayed movements. 

The instructions which we applied in these cases were very 
simple: we gave a signal to the subject and proposed that in his 
response he delay the movement of pressure as much as pos- 
sible; we did not limit the exact speed of this movement, but 
we required that it be delayed maximally. 

The analysis of the results obtained indicated that the devel- 
opment of the reactive processes occurs in very specific stages, 
and this brings us back to the fact of the chief differences in 
structure of the reactive processes in the adult and child. 

The problem is to make the delayed movements for the normal 
adult so that they do not present any difficulty, and thus we 
obtain a typical curve with uniformly inhibited peaks and in- 
tervals; the curve has the customary regular cupola form. Ex- 
amples of such typical curves have been given above ; from the 
very first, the inhibited process begins to be organised with the 
giving of the signal and occurs without interrupting any im- 
pulses or losing its uniformly inhibited character. The curve 
obtained is until this stage simple and regular, so that we can 


hardly discern with what difficulty this movement is performed, 
and at what level of development the corresponding cortical 
processes take place. 

Nevertheless the experiments with the child show us this. 

For a child of six or seven years, any organised delayed move- 
ment is, as a rule, entirely impossible. In a number of experi- 
ments we have seen beyond doubt that the young child, three 
or four years old, is not capable of delaying its movements, and 
the reactions which the child gives in this experiment differ 
only slightly from those which we obtained from him during the 
usual instructions. Evidently the impulsiveness of the child's 
reactive systems is so powerful that to inhibit them is almost 
impossible for him. 1 

The fact that the difficulty that we meet here in the child 
is connected with defects of the regulating systems and with 
the tendency of every excitation to be directly linked up to 
the motor system is well illustrated by the cases where we strive 
to attain in the child the maximally delayed reaction. Under 
these conditions all the curves we have seen of the child's reac- 
tions show the presence of a definite conflict. Our instructions 
are not complied with by the child because in him those mech- 
anisms are absent which might control the direct motor im- 
pulses, converting them into regulating, delayed movements. 
Therefore "the delayed movements" in the child are converted 
into a series of impulses occurring in the motor area and of an 
inhibitory nature; the defect of the regulating apparatus con- 
sists in this: the organised and constant inhibited movements 
are substituted by interrupted processes, and these are char- 
acterised by impulses which do not differ in rapidity from the 
usual movements, and they are accompanied by very late inhi- 
bitions, incapable of restraining the excitation to such a pro- 
longed interval of time. Therefore they are broken up and new 
impulses, in their turn, also become inhibited. Every time we 
tried to produce in a young child a delayed pressure we saw a 
process having a definite conflicting character. Figure 103 shows 
typical examples of such curves recorded in children from four 
to five and seven to eight years of age. The last (Curves C and D) 
show a step forward in comparison with that disorganisation 
which was always brought about by the delayed instructions 

1 It should be stated that for the adult the problem of mobilising his speed 
and increasing it to the maximum is much easier than the reverse to restrain 
his normal speed and make it much slower. Many special researches have 
shown that the latter is much more difficult. 


in very young children (Curves A and B) ; then these defects 
in organisation were especially marked again in neurotic children 
(Curves E and F). 
We performed this series of experiments in order to show 










the phenomena characteristic of the reactive processes in the 
child. Notwithstanding the definite instructions about the de- 
layed movements, the component movements in the child were 
actually unchanged, and the impulsiveness, at least in the early 
stages of development, were not capable of being regulated. 
That which was easily attainable for the adult met with several 
neurodynamical obstacles in the primitive structure of the reac- 
tive processes in the child, and we can understand why in the 
uninhibited impulsiveness the problem of giving delayed pressures 
led to a conflict of the separate impulses and abolished their 

The inclusion of new mechanisms as yet insufficient in the 
child is obviously necessary in order that the structure of the 
reactive processes be remodeled and that we may obtain through 
our instructions an adequately organised, delayed movement. 


THE chief differences between the structure of the reactive 
processes of the child and adult are particularly well seen in 
those experiments which presuppose the presence of some pre- 
liminary inhibition of the reactive processes, and only then can 
it be adequately realised. 

We have such conditions in every complex reactive process, 
and perhaps even more marked in the reaction of choice. 

In the experiments with the delayed movements we have 
studied how much the child is able uniformly to inhibit the 
course of his motor processes, but now in the experiments with 
the reactions of choice we turn to another question: to what 
extent is he capable of delaying his motor reactions, at the same 
time isolating the excitation from a transfer to the motor area, 
in order to make this connection only after an adequate central 

This question is psychologically much more important than 
the question of the uniformity of delay of some motor process; 
however, the speech proceeds here not simply according to a 
temporal delay of some reactions, but according to that specific 
structure of the neurodynamic processes which are necessary 
conditions for the origin of the higher forms of intellectual be- 
haviour. All intellectual behaviour, nevertheless, is possible only 
in that case when the decision of the problems will be deferred 
for a time. The problem is temporarily isolated from the motor 
sphere and from the seat of those preliminary internal trials 


which are not immediately reflected in the motor system; here 
exists the mechanism of the intellect. 

Does the structure of the reactive processes in the young child 
furnish a neurodynamical foundation for these complex forms 
of behaviour? 

The experiments with the comparative study of the behaviour 
of the child and adult in the situation of the intricate reactions 
of choice answer this question for us ; they show all the principal 
differences characterising the reactive processes in both cases. 

FIG. 104 

The method which we have employed is as follows: the hand of the 
subject with extended index finger is placed at an angle of 60 degrees 
to the surface of the table; on the table there is an arc containing four 
or five coloured cards, arranged for a choice. After explaining the ap- 
paratus to the subject, we tell him to choose a definite colour or a 
letter and that when a certain stimulus is given he must quickly indicate 
the chosen card. This is repeated several times, after which the stimulus 
is presented and the corresponding reaction is recorded. The situation of a 
simple experiment, suitable for clinical observation is given in Figure 104. 

In the exact experiments we used a complicated registration of the 
process: to the extended finger of the subject there is fastened a small 
light, and the trajectory of the movements are recorded; the card itself 
is changed by a special apparatus constructed in our laboratory, and 
the pressure is registered on the revolving drum. 


Besides our experiments, we include some very interesting material 
from those of P. S. Lubimov at the Institute of Experimental Psychology. 
There are only some technical differences between his and our methods. 
The subject's hand lies on the key A during the giving of the stimulus; 
the subject should change his hand to key B, 50 cm. from the first; 
at the same time the summated process is registered; the projectory of 
the movement is recorded cyclographically ; the intensity of the 
pressure to key B (connected with the dynamoscope of Lubimov) is also 

The reactions of choice with which we are concerned here 
are different in the child and in the adult, and we can understand 
the principal differences of structure of the reactive processes 
in both cases if we compare the typical results obtained in the 
adult with those in the young child. 

The reactive process of the normal adult is characterised pri- 
marily by the fact that it shows two definite phases: these may 
be termed the phase of preparation and the phase of fulfilment. 

The stimulus presented to the adult does not evoke in him a 
direct, delayed movement ; for some time the hand remains quiet ; 
there arise several preliminary, prepared processes, which termi- 
nate by a definite decision after this excitation is transferred 
to the motor system, making a simple realisation of the con- 
nection. Our cyclographic chart records this structure fairly 
clearly; Figure 105 shows us this process in all of its details. 

FIG. 105 


Two things here require our attention: the unusually simple 
character of the movement and the marked process. And this 
is easily understood. Our subject attempts a reactive process by 
such a differentiation: beginning from the given stimulus the 
excitation is not transferred directly to the motor area; it 
appears cut off, as it were, by a certain barrier not going outside 
of the limits of the central activity The first period of the 


reactive process is connected with such a linking-up activity, 
transferring the excitation to the regular path and elaborating 
some preliminary formulae of movement; during this time the 
excitation is not yet separated from the motor system, and the 
motor system is inactive. After this, when the connection is 
made, the excitation immediately is coupled up to the motor 
system, and there appear rapid and definite movements because 
in this movement there are no components of choice but there 
are only simple accomplishments occurring before a preliminary 
act. 1 

Therefore the movement itself in the presence of such a struc- 
ture of the reaction does not fundamentally differ from any 
given movement during a simple reaction or even during an 
elementary reflex. The complex "intellectual" component is ab- 
sent here; it was carried over into the prepared stage, and even 
further (it is immaterial whether the soldiers obey an order 
which was a result of the complex work of the whole soviet, i.e., 
committee, or the decision of a commander, their strides will be 
equal in both cases). 

The explanation of the structure of the reactive process brings us to 
a scheme differing somewhat from the usual, the scheme of the reactive 
arc. The given stimulus evokes in the system a certain excitation; reach- 
ing the central apparatus, it, however, is not connected directly to the 
motor system, but is restrained by some " functional barrier," and after 
the definite preliminary elaboration as a result of which there comes 
about a linking-up to the motor system, and the motor reactions do 
not show the traces of that "overloading" characteristic of the prelim- 
inary central process. 

Such a splitting of the reactive process into two phases with a definite 
process of choice from the motor system has a distinct biological sig- 
nificance. The complex choice must be carried out by an apparatus 
specially fitted for this; such an apparatus is the cortex, with its intricate 
and labile system of making connections. It would be unfortunate indeed 
if this choice and these connections might occur only within the limits 
of the motor system; every regular movement would then be broken 
and its organisation destroyed. 

There is nothing new, properly speaking, in our scheme; we simply 
find in the higher stages of behaviour the principles corresponding to 
those which Sherrington has described as a principle of the "general motor 
field." In these works is given the general neurological setting for such 
a system of preliminary connections; it remains for us to find an explana- 
tion of those complex psychological mechanisms which fulfil this role 
in the complicated actions of behaviour which we are studying. 

1 The details of the structure of the reaction of choice have been described 
by many authors. H. Luederitz (Beitrag zur experimentellcn Untcrsuchung der 
Wahleorg., Gottingen, 1929) showed that the process of choice is not connected 
in the human adult with the manifest activity. 


Although if such a "paired" or "doubled-phased" structure of 
the reactive processes may be seen in the adult, the reaction of 
choice in the young child occurs differently. Placed in the situa- 
tion of the experiment, the child of six or seven years (in 
younger children it is difficult to obtain an actual reaction of 
choice, it being substituted by impulsive pressures on any key 
of the apparatus closest), we usually see a picture differing strik- 
ingly in its structure. 

In contradistinction to the adult, the stimulus presented to 
the child provokes in him a delayed motor reaction, beginning 
at once after the signal and long before the definite connection 
was prepared. The first, preliminary phase, showing in the cyclo- 
gram as a sharply expressed delay of the movement, is entirely 
absent here, and the excitation is characterised by an open, diffuse 
structure. It is plain why the movement itself should present 
certain other signs. No traces remain of the positive and quick 
movements of the adult; in the diffuse structure of the process 
the movement is not realised earlier than the preliminary con- 
nections, but occurs in the very process of choice; having in- 
cluded the motor system too soon, the child wavers between 
the separate stimuli and produces uncertain movements which 
are continued for some time and only later they reach one of 
their final points. 

We should not limit ourselves here to the peculiarities of the 
forms of the reactive movements of the child ; it is much more im- 
portant that they differ from the reactive movements of the adult 
in function. We have already seen that the reactive movements of 
the adult are lacking in any "intellectual" components, that they 
are simple, fulfilled realisations in the central system of connec- 
tions, and in their structure they are exceedingly similar to all 
the other more primitive movements, as for example, the move- 
ments during a simple reaction or in a reflex. In this relation the 
reactive movements of a young child differ markedly from those 
of an adult; the function of choice occurs here not in the transfer 
of the excitation to the motor region, but in a diffused extension 
into it; the hand likewise executes here the problem of choice 
as in the central part of the system, and the tragedy of the 
decision takes place on an open stage. 

It is sufficient to examine a cyclographic record of a typical 
reactive process in a child of five years (see Figure 106) in order 
to be convinced that the hand does not simply execute a pre- 
pared connection, but it is a participant in the complicated 
problem of choice which was before realised in the preliminary, 


preceding motor connections. The reactive process of the child 
is of a distinctly diffused nature ; during the absence or weakness 
of the "functional barrier" the beginning excitation, not being 
inhibited, passes through into the motor region, and the move- 
ments are direct. 

The diffused character of the process and the absence of the "func- 
tional barrier," separating the excitation from a direct transfer to the 
motor region, leads us to postulate the existence here of some other 
structure of the reactions and that there will be adequate for it another 
scheme, displacing the direct character of the process. The excitation, 
having begun in the receptory system, does not meet any obstacle here 
but spreads directly to the motor sphere, extending over into it and 
producing numerous impulsive movements, frequently having all the 
signs of the conflict. In this scheme of the reactive process there is 
absent that intricacy which is present in the former scheme; this is 

FIG. 106 


inevitably distinguished by a small degree of differentiation and there 
should lie at its basis much more primitive processes. 

We are justified in presupposing two specific foundations of this process 
of behaviour. On the one hand, we should indicate the fact that there 
is extensive irradiation inherent in the neurodynamics of the child and 
noted by many investigators working with the reflex activity in the 
young. 1 On the other hand, the decisive factor which we should recognise 
is that in the reactive process of the child there are not included any 
higher, regulating systems opposing the process and obstructing the direct 
transfer of excitation to the motor system. 

In passing from the diffused structure of the reactive process in the 
child to its complicated, functional organisation in the adult, we might 
expect the repression of the primary irradiation, which in all probability 
should be brought about by the inclusion in the process of the complex 
mechanisms playing a specific, organised role and not participating in it 

1 See Schtchelovanov: Genetic Reflexology and Pedagogy of the Young, 1929. 
Ivanov-Smolensky: Investigations of the Higher Nervous Activity of the 
Child, Moscow, 1930. 


We shall support our opinion by statistical material borrowed 
from the work of P. S. Lubimov. This investigator studied cyclo- 
graphically the form of the reactive movements in subjects of 
various ages and different phases of mental development. With 
the cyclogram he recorded the trajectory path during a simple 
motor reaction, and secondly the reaction of choice. 

The forms of the movements are classified by him in five groups: 

1. Simple, rapid movements 

2. Delayed, but regular movements 

3. Movements with arrestment before the actual instant of choice 

4. Movements with delay of the motor attempts before the choice 

5. Movements characterising the general irradiation of the impulses, 
and the diffused and chaotic structure (uncertain strokes without signs 
of restraining the impulses). 

These five types as may be seen here, are distinguished by the 
degree of the organisation of the process, and we may postulate 
the existence of different structural reactions underlying them; 
the first type of rapid and regular movements, with preliminary 
inhibition, usually corresponds to that case in which the move- 
ments simply execute the prepared and preliminary stages of 
making connections, not being complicated by any intellectual 
components ; the second is already characterised by some spread- 
ing of the inhibition, although organised, into the motor region, 
indicating that the movements are complicated by the carrying 
out of the problem; this appears strikingly in the third type 
the arrestment of the movement before the reaction charac- 
terised by the extended disturbance of this process, which in the 
first case the regular decision of the problem was preliminary 
and internal ; finally, the fourth and fifth types are very definite 
pictures of the diffused structure of the reactions, where the 
very process of choice occurs not in the central but in the motor 
system, and the motor area itself plays not a complementary 
but a diffused role in the whole reactive process. 

These forms of movement are far from equally distributed 
among the subjects of different ages and degrees of development. 
Table 30 shows the distribution. 

The results which we obtain from the analysis of this table are 
very clear. Whilst in the retarded child ten years old, with a 
mental age of six years, even the simple reactions were distin- 
guished by some leaking of the inhibition into the movement, 
and the reaction of choice in 50% of the cases gave a picture 
of diffuse movements (with a complete absence of the reactions 
occurring in the first group), but the behaviour of the normal 




Type of Reactive Movements 






Oligophrenia, 10 years 
Simple reactions 


2 /o 







Reactions of choice, normal 
child, 10 years 





Normal adult, simple reac- 





Reactions of choice 





adult gives a picture exactly the reverse of this. About 90% of 
all the reactions are definite, quick movements; these move- 
ments are equal in the case of the simple reaction as well as in 
the reaction of choice; the complex problem of choice does not 
displace here the structure of the movement toward diffusion, 
does not change the picture of the motor curve. Our data con- 
vincingly prove that the complicated reactive process here is 
almost never reflected in the reactive movement itself and that 
all the qualities peculiar to the transfer from the simple reactive 
process to the complex one were completed in the period before 
the beginning of the movement. The presence of the inhibition 
preceding the realisation of the movements points to a specific 
"functional barrier'' characteristic of the reactive process of the 
adult and practically absent in the young child. 


Subject, Group 

Oligophrenia, 10-12 years 
Normal Children, 10-11 years 


+ 7% 





+ 6?o 

+ 9% 

+ 6% 

- 5% 

+ 3% 

+ 2% 

Changes of Movement during the Reaction of Choice Compared with 
the Simple Reactions. 

This situation that the movement itself of the adult remains 
almost unchanged in the case of the reaction of choice as well 
as in the simple reaction, while in the child in both cases it is 


very different is well demonstrated by the coefficient expressing 
the augmentation of the period of movements bringing about the 
reaction of choice in comparison with the periods of movement 
in the simple reactive process. Table 31 gives us such a resume, 
again taken from the work of Lubimov. 

These figures clearly show that, in the oligophrenics (partly 
as in young children, the figures of which are not given here), 
the movements of the complex reactions have a less simple and 
prolonged character, occupying 40-60% more of the period than 
the movements during the simple reactions; but in adults we 
do not find a perceptible difference in the two cases, and the 
changes are very slight, and not exceeding the limits of probable 
error, sometimes negative, sometimes positive. This again shows 
how incorrect it would be to seek in the adult for specific peculi- 
arities of the complex reactive process of the movement itself, 
and makes us think that the movement plays here only a role 
of completing that connection which was already prepared earlier 
and which was separated from the movement by the " functional 
barrier," allowing the excitation to pass over into the motor 
sphere only at the termination of this preliminary process. 

This convinces us that the development of the reactive proc- 
esses is not by any means a simple process of a gradual growth 
of complexity, of a continuous improvement in coordination; 
the path from the reactions of the child to the reactive processes 
of the adult leads through deep internal changes through a 
qualitative rebuilding of the whole structure of the neurody- 
namical acts, through a replacement of one primitive structure 
by another much more complicated and functionally different 

This functional organisation of the reactive processes in the 
adult, according to all the data, is distinguished by the inclusion 
of the complicated mechanisms restraining the direct transfer 
of excitation to the motor region, regularly bringing to pass 
the intricate connections in order to carry over the excitation 
at the given instance. Undifferentiated and diffused from the 
beginning, the reactive process divides into two definite phases: 
the phase of preparation with the periodic isolation of excitation 
from the motor area, and the phase of realisation, bringing about 
by means of movements the connections prepared in the central 

Such a structure of the reactive process does not appear at 
birth, and does not grow by a gradual development ; on the 
contrary, it matures by virtue of the repression of that primitive 


type of activity of the nervous system which is manifested in 
the tendency of every excitation to proceed to its motor terminus 
and is accomplished by a direct reaction. Precisely because the 
reactions of the adult are constructed on the basis of the re- 
pressed natural laws of activity of the nervous system, we may 
think that in its foundation lies the involved processes having 
a specific character, which must be the subject of a special 

If the "functional barrier" and the regulating mechanisms of 
the reactive processes appear at a comparatively late age, then 
we may look for their origin from those conditions amongst 
which the child develops, and from those mechanisms created 
in him under the influence of the connections with these condi- 
tions. The problem of the organisation of the complex forms of 
behaviour should follow for us the problem of the genetic analysis 
of the forms of its disorganisation. This will occupy our attention 
in the following chapters. 




IT would be entirely incorrect if we were to limit our analysis 
to the comparatively simple, artificial psychophysiological proc- 
esses taken especially for experimentation. 

Many facts convince us that the diffused character of each 
excitatory process is a basic factor characterising a primitive 
degree of development of the neurodynamic apparatus, and that 
all its growth in the main consists in the repression of this 
primary diffusion. 

In his very illuminating researches, K. Lewin showed that every tension 
(Spannung) arising in the neurodynamical system of the young manifests 
a tendency slowly to pass over to motor innervation. This fact, however, 
was especially characteristic: every neurodynamical tension produced 
here not a corresponding movement of some one organ, but a diffuse 
reaction of all the systems as a whole. Photographs taken by K. Lewin 
showed that infants a few months old cling with the whole body, but 
not with one or another organ, to a toy or food given them, and that 
the excitation provoked by the stimulus manifests a tendency to spread 
diffusely over the whole system. 

Embryological data indicate that this observation is not accidental, 
and that in the earlier stages of development we may postulate still 
more general and diffused reactions. The experiments of Coghill, pre- 
sented before the Ninth International Congress of Psychologists l show 

1 G. E. Coghill: The Genetic Interrelation of Instinctive Behaviour and 
Reflexes Individuation versus Integration of Human Behaviour t Proceedings 
of the Ninth International Congress of Psychology, 1929. 


that the more early forms of reaction in the amblystoma are diffused 
reactions of the whole body, and that the component isolated reflexes 
are separated only rather late from the more integrated motor units; 
his experiments on the movements of the human embryo showed that 
the winking reflex is substituted by a diffuse motor reaction of the 
whole organism; experiments with irritation of the oral palate gave 
analogous results, showing that the isolated reflex movements from these 
organs appeared only at the moment of birth. 

This diffused character of the neurodynamical processes al- 
ready repressed in the primitive stages of the neurodynamics in 
the first months of life for a long time remains characteristic 
for the behaviour of the child, and the tendency to the direct 
discharge of excitation to its immediate transfer to the motor 
sphere may be seen even in children of pre-school age and in those 
a little older. 

Our experiments prove that this diffusion is a specific feature 
of the structure in the reactive processes of the child, and it is 
expressed more clearly as we use a more complicated situation 
for the child. 

However, it would not be correct to think that this structure 
characterises only the child's "voluntary activity," not being 
reflected in the other aspects of its behaviour. The experiments 
and observations indicate that the matter here is otherwise, and 
that all the actual factors in the behaviour of the child are 
characterised to a greater or lesser degree by an analogous 

Special experiments done in our laboratory brought out the 
fact that such a diffusion and tendency of the direct transfer 
to the motor area is highly characteristic for the emotional acts 
of the child. In experiments performed together with our col- 
laborator, A. V. Zaporozhets, we proposed to the child to draw 
phrases having a neutral and emotional content, and containing 
elements of activity, movements (as for example, a boy running, 
a malicious teacher, war, etc.), and we registered the motor 
activity which he expended on the drawing in both cases. It is 
seen in the experiment that while the neutral, indifferent pictures 
are characterised by a comparatively small expenditure of energy, 
the picture having some emotional, active element is accom- 
panied by a sharp motor excitation; the emotional image was 
expressed not only in the separate signs in the drawing, but also 
in the "emotional" character of the lines connected with the 
fact that the given emotional image was directly transferred 
to the motor system, producing there an active motor discharge. 



I/I/MM f 

Fi. No. for 




Figure 107 gives such an example. To a child six years old, 
there is given a problem to draw "A Kind Aunt," and then 
"War." Their motor equivalents are recorded alongside of the 
drawings (the drawings are on a special pneumatic stand, and 
every pressure of the pencil is registered on the kymograph). 
The record shows that the second drawing is much more emo- 
tional, and is distinguished by its neurodynamics : the motor 
equivalent exhibits here intense motor discharges, entirely lacking 
in the first drawing. 

Such an affect of the direct transfer of the emotional-motor 
image to the motor system is observed only at a definite age, 
and in older children the motor equivalent of the drawing with 
the emotional content does not differ perceptibly from the motor 
equivalent of the drawing containing an indifferent image. 1 

It is interesting that this peculiarity was noticed by E. R. Jaensch 2 
for the more primitive psychological processes. In his researches with 
eidetic images he shows that in experiencing active eidetic images the 
subject maintains a certain muscular tension; this tension is a fact 
very closely connected with the eidetic image; the artificial muscular 
tension can in these cases provoke a blending of the eidetic image. In 
the more complicated development of the psychological structures, during 

1 The details of this we shall describe in a special research having to do 
with graphic signs in the child. 

2 E. R. Jaensch, Ueber die Aufbau der Wahrnehmungswelt, 2 Aufl. 1927, 
S. 197-198. 


the transition from the eidetic images to the images of representation, 
this result is not obtained, and the direct connection with the motor 
system ceases to play a role. 

The weakness of the "functional barrier" and the direct char- 
acter of the psychological processes stands out especially clearly 
in the analysis of the natural forms of the child's behaviour. 

There is a marked tendency of the young child, incapable 
of concentrating for a long time on a given thing, to change 
impulsively from one object to another. This is evidence that 
with a comparative weakness of the "functional barrier" the 
child is not able to restrain the stimulating influence of the 
different factors of the surroundings acting upon him. Coming 
under their spell, he finds it necessary to react to them every 
time, and this transfer from one stimulus to another is absent 
only in those cases where there is present some very strong 
dominant which replaces for a time all of the other stimuli. 

It has been shown by K. Lewin that the behaviour of the young 
child is characterised by the tendency to a direct discharge of the ten- 
sion created, and that a whole group of actions in the child are explained 
by this peculiarity. Therefore the series of the forms of behaviour estab- 
lished by Lewin, leading to the created tension, is especially clear in 
children. Such processes, as the active return to the interrupted action, 
the direct transfer from one object to another, the blending of the 
action during a prohibition all of these phenomena are observed in a 
child in very marked forms. 1 

With greater clarity, however, the direct and impulsive char- 
acter of the child's behaviour is expressed in his thinking. While 
in the old psychology we met with only a few, and always par- 
tial, descriptions of the child's thinking, emphasising his con- 
creteness and subjectivity, in recent works, especially those of 
J. Piaget, we have a fairly complete and clear picture of the 
child's thinking. In our problems there has not entered in any 
degree a description of the peculiarities of this primitive thinking. 
For us it is important to note only this: that many of its char- 
acteristics give foundation to the belief that the structure of 
the intellectual process in the child actually differs from that 
which we are accustomed to see in the adult. The child's thinking 
is described as being constructed according to the type of Kurz- 
schluss ; as a rule he cannot restrain himself from a direct and 
impulsive judgment, which is not a result of deliberation but 

1 K. Lewin: Die EntwicMung der Experiment ellen Willens Psychologic und 
Psychotherapie, 1929. 


of a direct "short connection." From such a direct character of 
the judgment there is created a primitive child logic, described 
by Claparede, Stern and Piaget. 

However, this is much clearer in the practical thinking of the 
child. That impulsive character which distinguishes the be- 
haviour of the young child does not justify us in speaking of his 
decision of practical situations as an intellectual decision. The 
direct quality of the reactions and the ignorant application of 
instruments, the clumsy means of controlling his own behaviour, 
which appears in the absence of a working setting in the young 
child and in his play behaviour all this is evidence of the 
dominating tendency, directly opposed to the complex organised 
behaviour. Every experiment which we perform on a child of 
three or four year* (for example, bringing him into a situation 
analogous to Kohler's experiments with anthropoids) is verifi- 
cation that the intellectual act is preceded by the long period 
of primitive direct trials; these trials are very conservative and 
stable and only the gradual inhibition of errors on the one hand, 
and the inclusion of the higher regulating forms of behaviour 
on the other, lead to the development of more involved intel- 
lectual forms of behaviour. 1 

These features are connected in their origin from two facts: 
on the one hand, that direct character of the reactive processes, 
the tendency of all excitation immediately to be associated with 
activity, as we have described above; on the other hand, the 
higher psychological mechanisms, particularly that of speech, 
which have not yet begun to play in the child that regulating 
role taken later in adolescents and adults. In the young child 
speech is not a perfect means of making judgments and plan- 
ning, and the loss of this preliminary stage gives to the intel- 
lectual processes of the child the primitive form, not less diffuse 
than that which we have noted in the more simple reactive 

The direct impulsiveness, already disappearing in the simplest 
reactive processes at the beginning of the school age, still remains 
in the most intricate intellectual operations for a very long time, 
and even in many adults a very complex intellectual situation 
may provoke an unexpected return to the most primitive childish 
form of pre-intellectual behaviour. 

1 A. R. Luna, The Development of the Child's Thinking. Nature, and Marx- 
ism, IQ2Q. L. C. Vuigotsky and Luria, Studies in the History of Behaviour, 
Moscow, iQ3o. 



UNTIL now we have discussed the diffusion of the reactive proc- 
esses of the child, relating to all children in general ; but such a 
disposition of the problem must needs be further modified. 

Obviously every child shows a diffusive structure of the reac- 
tive processes as we have already said, but the behaviour of 
everyone is not characterised by the same primitiveness and 
directness. During his development the child passes through very 
important stages, each of which is distinguished by conspicuous 
features. This is in direct opposition to the view that the phases 
of development have a single general basis. The reactive process 
under consideration undergoes development as do all the other 
processes, and the peculiarities of the structure which we have 
noted appear to be only tendencies influencing the neurodynamics 
of the young child. 

Pedagogues studying the development of the child in all its 
details have always attempted to elaborate some index which 
might be characteristic of any given stage. The view that the 
actual age is an indicator, characterising the whole complex 
of the corresponding qualities by definite degrees, was quickly 
abandoned by pedagogues because the development proceeded 
disproportionately in the different systems. Therefore the sum- 
mary actual age in a more detailed analysis was substituted by 
another more concrete indicator. 

The first concept which was usually applied in pedagogy 
might be termed the morphological age of the child. This indi- 
cator includes several indices characterising the structural devel- 
opment of the child's organism and defining his age according 
to the phase of development of the morphological signs; the 
index of the circumference of the chest to the height, the index 
of the bony growth, the index of proportion belong in this 

Together with this group of indices there is another one 
usually employed in pedagogy. While the first attempts to con- 
dition the more stable morphological signs, the second reflects 
these signs in a more fluctuating way; the indices of the mental 
age take into account how much the child differs from his 
actual, morphological age in his intellectual development. 

These two indices can hardly exhaust the whole range of 
indicators of the child's development, but, on the contrary, be- 
tween these two important indices there is a considerable gap. 

In effect, if the index of the intellectual development is 


markedly labile and dependent upon surrounding influences from 
the material given the child in school from inculcated habits, 
then this index cannot tell us the degree of the development 
of the neurodynamical processes lying at the basis of the child's 
behaviour. On the other hand, the index of the morphological 
age is distinguished by definite statistics, and for one and the 
same morphological characteristics there may exist entirely un- 
equal dynamical properties of the behaviour in different cases. 
The morphological age, as a matter of fact, tells us no more 
than the mental age of the child about the fundamental dynamical 
forms of behaviour. 1 

This is not the place to define in detail the conditions which 
this index must fulfil ; but we shall briefly point out the problem. 
The changing stages of the child's neurodynamical development 
have, of course, as much significance as the changes of its 
morphological and mental character. The index of the neuro- 
dynamical development should indicate what are the features 
of its reactive process, and how far the child represses that pri- 
mary diffusion of the excitation which characterises the activity 
of the primitive nervous apparatus. 

If the behaviour of the young child is characterised by this, 
that the mobilisation of the adequate amounts of excitation to 
the given stimulus is absent, and the child as a rule mobilises 
inadequate masses of energy, which it is unable to organise, con- 
siderably exceeding the necessary limits, if the behaviour mani- 
fest a tendency of every arising excitation directly to pass to 
the motor termination, to express itself in the immediate reaction 
then in the repressing of these qualities, in the growth of the 
regulating processes, in the creation and reinforcement of the 
"functional barrier" and the gradual organisation of behaviour 
precisely in these processes there may be primarily expressed 
the gradual development of the neurodynamics, precisely in the 
correlated coefficients is reflected the neurodynamics of the age. 

By virtue of such a character, obviously, the neurodynamics 
of the age is actually the psychophysiological coefficient. In the 
first stages of development, it must differentiate the process of 
repression of the diffused, irradiated excitation, and its first 

1 There is no doubt, however, that there is a close relation between both of 
these and the neurodynamics; investigations of the relations between the neuro- 
dynamics and constitution have shown this. The connection of the intellectual 
developments with the neurodynamics has not been so thoroughly worked out, 
but it is of no less significance. We are able to establish very important re- 
lations between the level of the cultural development and the neurodynamical 
peculiarities of behaviour. 


steps lie wholly within the confines of these physiological 
processes of development, which are studied in the terms of 
irradiation and concentration of excitation, development and 
establishment of differentiation, etc. In its final stage it will be 
connected with the more complex processes of control of its 
behaviour, or in other words, with such an organisation of the 
neurodynamical apparatus, with which the overcoming of the 
primitive neurodynamical process was possible and the subordi- 
nation of its more complex forms of regulation arising as a result 
of the cultural development. Thanks to this, that the problem 
of the organisation of behaviour rests in the final stage with 
the problem of control of the behaviour, the question concerning 
the neurodynamical age ceases to be a question of biology and 
becomes one of the cultural elaboration on biological grounds, 
i.e., in the final analysis, a problem of psychophysiology. 

We do not intend to indicate now those paths by which the investi- 
gator can establish the neurodynamical age; the elaboration of a standard 
method of investigation is a problem for the future. However, much 
has already been done toward this, and the material available to the in- 
vestigator gives a general outline of these paths. There is no doubt that 
the facts obtained with the help of the physiological methods of in- 
vestigation of the higher activity of the nervous system lie at the basis 
of the neurodynamical characteristics of the child; and the degree of 
irradiation, generalisation, and the concentration of the nervous excita- 
tion will be one of the important indices of the neurodynamicai age. 
The researches of Schtchlovanov with young children and those of 
Ivanov-Smolensky with older children are valuable contributions. 

Over this foundation there should be erected a second tier of appli- 
cable methods, which, together with the first, constitute the neurody- 
namical development of the child. This second tier should concern itself 
with the "voluntary" activity and decide the problem of its control. This 
we are occupied with at present. The investigations should certainly 
include a whole system of experiments to decide the question of control 
of behaviour by a series of problems increasing in complexity and by 
the inclusion of the more intricate mechanisms. The coefficient expressing 
the neurodynamical age might be explained from the investigations of 
the repression of the primitive diffusion and the growth of the regulating 
behaviour in successive, complex systems, where at one end of the series 
there is the action, the organised control attainable by the child several 
months old, and at the other end should be sections of the behaviour in 
which the impulsiveness and diffusion are repressed only in the fully 
developed, neurodynamical relations of the personality. 

Fundamental and not simply empirical will be the construction of such 
a system; it will be possible, however, only in case we explain the nature 
of the control of the personality by its behaviour and if we explain 
the character of those mechanisms forming the "functional barrier" and 
the chief regulating apparatus of the complex functions of the behaviour. 


Together with the question of the neurodynamical age is that 
of the neurodynamical type. Speaking of the degree of diffusion 
of the reactive processes in the child and neglecting the indi- 
vidual characteristics, we would make the same mistake as if 
we were to shift our attention from the age and to limit ourselves 
by a summary indicator of the tendency of the child's develop- 

The question concerning the psychophysiological type is based 
on many methodological problems and is therefore especially 
interesting. Its significance in our problem impels us to discuss 
it here. 

In previous studies we have pointed out that our material 
obtained from different subjects was not equivalent. This forced 
us to consider the presence among our subjects of an inclination 
sometimes to one, sometimes to another, method of behaviour; 
and we spoke of the reactively labile and reactively stable types 
of neurodynamics. 

We were fully justified in describing them in our first ap- 
proach to the problem of individual differences ; however it would 
be very disadvantageous to be limited by such substitution of 
the study of dynamics of the accumulating individual qualities 
by a mere typological label. We shall try to give, however brief, 
a logical analysis of the concept "type." We are justified in 
speaking of "type" in those cases where all of the material falls 
into two or three clearly expressed groups, differing by certain 
features of the laws governing them. Nevertheless, in our usual 
psychophysiological investigations we most often do not find 
any of these above-mentioned features. On the one hand, to the 
clearly expressed type there belong only a few of our subjects 
and the distinct typological characteristics are found primarily 
in the pathological material ; the others are usually scattered 
between these two (generally we encounter such dichotomous 
phenomena, acquiring now a simple, now a more complex form) 
between these two branches of our series. If we divide all of our 
subjects according to the given characteristics, then in place of 
the expected double curve, we see an irregular one of the con- 
verse type; a small number form a sharply expressed unknown 
type, and the majority belong to the intervening group. 

Under such circumstances, to speak of the presence of two 
or several clearly defined typological groups is very difficult, 
and it is possible to separate one type from another only approxi- 
mately. This state of affairs indicates that some very specific 
combinations of mechanisms, some new qualitative properties 


arising on the basis of the same laws are necessary before we 
can make the differentiation into types. To divide people into 
types tall and short, stout and thin, leaving 70% in the inter- 
mediate types would be a very useless procedure ; the typological 
grouping is justified only when at the basis of the phenomena 
there are actually specific combinations of signs which are not 
only clearly expressed in extreme cases but include the whole 
mass of the intermediate ones. However, this is not often seen 
in the material we have studied. The phenomena observed often 
have an entirely different etiology, and consist of different mech- 
anisms. The classification of our types, according to the purely 
phenotypical symptoms and not according to their genotypical 
analysis, runs the risk of making errors, or, at best, remaining 
at the level of the external description. 

It is our belief that in view of the above-discussed conditions, 
further investigations should change the conception of type to a 
more dynamic term, substituting the usual analysis by a more 
dynamic one. 

Our analysis is much more vital if we attempt to understand 
the described types as phases in the ensuing processes. Only in 
such a substitution of the static analysis by the dynamical 
analysis can we properly evaluate our material and approach 
it in the light of an entirely different point of view. 

The dialectic analysis gives to typology a new basis and makes 
possible the inclusion of the individual peculiarities into a single 
unified process. These individual peculiarities may be externally 
dissimilar one to the other, but, finding the same mechanism 
at their basis, we can consider them as different phases of a 
single dynamical series. The conception of types is replaced here 
by a conception of tendencies, giving to each stage a quantitative 
and qualitative characteristic. The division of all the material 
into two types with many intervening ones, inert and undifferen- 
tiated, is substituted by a dynamical analysis of those concrete 
forms which the given tendency takes at the various stages of 
its development. The metaphysical division is substituted by a 
single scientific one, and that which was always most burdensome 
and confusing for the investigator the large intermediate group 
between the pure types became more interesting for him be- 
cause he was enabled to proceed along the most important paths 
leading him to the very existence of the process. 

Only with such a dialectic analysis, the simple description of 
the facts confronting us is changed into a direct investigation 


of the process, and the typological method from the description 
becomes a powerful instrument of scientific investigation. 

It is obvious that the dynamical analysis of the individual 
differences makes the study of the processes much more compli- 
cated and incomparably more circuitous. 

In the process of the typological analysis there is included 
the whole arsenal of the genetic study of the phenomena; the 
"type" ceases to be separated from the genesis and begins to be 
founded on the careful study of those phases through which the 
personality passed in its development; the typological features 
now commence to be connected with the genetic characteristics, 
and the study of the development becomes a most important 
means of coordinating the qualities of the personality. 

The separation of the central principle of development becomes 
a conditioned typology, and only after the decision of these two 
questions is the problem itself of the typological analysis pos- 
sible, and the simple description of the concrete facts is replaced 
by a genuine scientific investigation. 

In order to make concrete the methodological analysis of the 
typological investigation it is best to cite the material which we 
have already studied. 

Studying the laws and factors of disorganisation of human 
behaviour we came to the conclusion that in the individual cases 
this disorganisation is unequal and that at the basis of such 
differences lies the dissimilar organisation and regulation of the 
neuropsychical apparatus. This regulation is much more perfect 
in a state of composure than during affect ; it may be artificially 
destroyed by introducing certain conflicts into the psyche of the 
personality; it is well marked in neurosis. On the other hand, 
the regulation of behaviour, its stability in relation to all these 
circumstances is not the same in all subjects and is different 
at the various stages of development. A careful analysis con- 
vinces us that this degree of regulation of behaviour is funda- 
mental and determines the lines of development of the behaviour 
as well as the individual peculiarities of the personality. The 
behaviour appears insufficiently organised in its activity, it easily 
becomes disintegrated, manifesting a tendency to mobilise in 
each stimulus an inadequately large amount of excitation which 
it is incapable of controlling. It is noteworthy that the behaviour 
of young children belongs here; their neurodynamics is distin- 
guished by these two symptoms. On the other hand, some varia- 
tions are seen in the pathological behaviour of psychoneurotics, 
who show hypersensibility, mobilising inadequate amounts of 


excitation, and defects of that which we call the "functional 
barrier." Another line of development shows the very opposite 
symptoms, and in these subjects we see a fair organisation of 
behaviour, stability of the neurodynamical interrelations to con- 
flicts and traumata, an adequate mobilisation of excitation, and 
a well-defined isolation of the processes of excitation from a 
direct transfer to the motor sphere. Among normal adults we 
have, as a rule, a greater or lesser tendency of the neurodynamics 
to fall into this group, and within certain limits the behaviour 
of every normal adult is fairly stable and well regulated. 

These two lines of development are of interest to us chiefly 
from the point of view of methodology. By no means shall we 
attempt to classify normal subjects in one or another of these 
groups. Our descriptions represent not stable types, but only 

tendencies The real problem before us leads to this : the 

establishment of the degree of manifestation of the regulating 
behaviour in any given subject at that time, and the description 
of those qualitative peculiarities which are associated with the 
degree of regulation of the neurodynamical labileness. The sta- 
tistical analysis of types is replaced here by a dynamical analysis 
of the developing peculiarities of the neurodynamics, resulting 
from the study of the principal characteristics. The distribution 
of all the subjects into several limited and stable types is substi- 
tuted by their reciprocal relations with the definite stage of 
growth of the regulation of behaviour, its increasing participation 
with the complex psychological systems, and the description of 
the interrelations of the various stages of the qualitative peculi- 

We do not presume now to offer either a ready system of 
methods for the establishment of the typological peculiarities 
of the neurodynamics, or a finished description of the individual 
neurodynamic structures. It seems to us that such an investiga- 
tion of the typological properties of the neurodynamics is a 
problem for the future, and we are content to limit ourselves to 
that stratified analysis mentioned above, hoping that a more 
detailed disposition of its developing peculiarities, the detailed 
study of the disintegration of behaviour in the various neuro- 
dynamical systems, may in time reveal to us the nature and 
mechanics of the neurodynamical types. 




WE HAVE shown what role the "functional barrier" plays 
in restraining the excitation from a direct transfer to 
the motor sphere. Now we must explain its nature. 
How are we to consider this apparatus? Is it inborn, congenital, 
only gradually appearing in the process of unnatural growth, 
or is it a product of education, becoming manifest together with 
certain new cultural elaborations in the human psychobiology ? 
Must we think of it as a morphologically formed apparatus ; 
or is that which we call the "functional barrier" a functional 
conception, not concealing any new morphological elaborations 
and having to do only with the combination of other already 
present systems, of other structures of the process, of the inclu- 
sion in the neurodynamics of behaviour of new and higher cul- 
turally psychological relations and of their influence in the course 
of the reactive processes? 

Upon the solution of this question depends the direction of 
our further researches and the whole path of the investigation. 

What should we do here to avoid mistakes in the solution 
of this problem? Nowhere is a system of concepts so evident 
on first acquaintance and so mythological in fact as in those 
chapters of psychology which touch neurology and attempt to 
proceed from it. Psychologists working in this region feel at 
home among the most delicate neurological elements as if every 
nook and cranny were known to them in detail and connected 
with definite established functions. In such a psychologist every 
theory influences his concepts: the forming of habits depends 
upon the connecting synapses ; forgetting or sleep, upon their 
separation; every disturbance in psychobiological activity is 
linked up with a distinct morphological injury, and each step 



along the path of development may be expressed in explicit 
terms of neurological formations. 

But the lucidness is often deceptive, the exact and detailed 
descriptions represent doubtful facts, unproven experimentally, 
and hardly universally recognised by scientists. The history of 
the border-lying territory between psychology and neurology for 
the last few decades is a history of mythology. 

To think in terms of things is much easier than to think in terms of 
processes; in the latter instance the thinking must satisfy complex con- 
cepts and interrelations, whilst in the first it operates with evident optical 
images and mechanised models. Under these conditions one is obviously 
inclined to a construction based on concreteness. 

There is a whole history of the attempts to build psychology on such 
concrete neurological concepts. These trials have not explained a single 
element of the nervous apparatus; they have their roots deep in antiquity 
and terminate with the newest mythology, localising the most intricate 
psychological processes and finding for them the most "exact" morpho- 
logical apparatuses and trying to connect the archaic concepts of mental 
processes with the most recent knowledge concerning the function of 
the corpus striatum and thalamus. Neither the nerve fibrils nor the 
plasma have escaped such essays. The synapses particularly have come 
in for their share of these relations, and, according to some authors, they 
explain the mechanisms of associations, sleep, hypnosis, forgetting, recol- 
lection and almost all the remaining psychological functions. 

An excellent criticism of such mythological concepts in contemporary 
neurology is given by many authors, and especially clearly by Lashley, 
who has shown that many similar conjectures, explaining empirical facts 
by quotations from "neurological mechanisms are often worthless and 
merely an obstacle to the progress of science." * 

Thus, that on which psychoneurology has often built its entire 
system of thought is frequently false, only touching on the con- 
crete and numerous cases revealing nothing except a logical con- 
creteness in the form of the structure. This explains the constant 
tendency of the authors to express opinions concerning the "con- 
crete" and formulated mechanisms to the definite "concrete" 
structure. An action which is connected with the representation 
of some morphological apparatus is much more evident and 
more easily comprehended; functional conceptions are always 
more difficult and involved, and nai've thinking will for a long 
time consider "thinking in terms of things" a criterion of accuracy 
and science. 

However, precisely this inclination to a visual conception (it 
is difficult for us to find another term for it), with the aid of 

1 K. S. Lashley: Basic Neural Mechanisms in Behaviour, Psychological Re- 
view, 1930. 


scientific thinking, quickly becomes one of the most serious 
obstacles. Nothing is easier than to postulate a morphological 
apparatus in any functional conception, using the analogies of 
mechanisms known to us in this simple procedure, which is a 
product of pure analogy and the application of thought in a 
certain optical concreteness to substitute a much more compli- 
cated relationship of the phenomena. 

In speaking of one or another mechanism of behaviour it is 
not obligatory for us to presuppose the existence of any special 
morphological structure. The supposition that the development 
of psychological functions is necessarily connected with the 
growth of cortical new formations underlying them is a con- 
jecture hardly tenable; in effect, we know many more complex 
forms of development connected with new combinations in the 
use of those same morphological elaborations accompanied by a 
change in their functional significance; and those modifications 
which we meet in the development of the behaviour of the child 
may be referred to these processes of the second type. Does 
not the inclusion in the social surroundings, the acquisition of 
speech, the use of instruments, and the transition of the new 
cultured forms of organisation of the individual behaviour change 
the structure of the psychophysiological processes just as much 
as the appearance of some purely morphological alteration of 
the nervous apparatus? Moreover, in this complicated organi- 
sation with which behaviour is connected, these functional 
changes are often predominant, and we know scores of cases 
where it was possible to compensate for serious defects in the 
coarse morphological structure of the nervous apparatus. 

But we stand here before another system of conceptions than 
that which is usually accepted in the morphological approach 
to the psychophysiological causes. Of course, no scientifically 
and materialistically minded psychologist could deny that at 
the basis of any complex psychological phenomenon lies a definite 
organisation of the cerebral apparatus; nevertheless, not every 
psychologist-materialist will attempt to ascribe the peculiarity 
in this organisation to the specific morphological new formations. 

The higher forms of behaviour as well as the primitive can 
be functions of such an exact morphological brain; cultured 
behaviour does not require a new brain morphology, and the 
brain of a savage may be morphologically identical with that 
of a member of the Academy of Sciences; the most intricate 
psychological elaborations may be comprehended in a plan of 
functional reconstructions, the use of the same functions in en- 


tirely new combinations and the employment of the new and 
adapted mechanisms of the surroundings. 

We are firmly convinced that these mechanisms, which are 
often far more complicated to understand, are, notwithstanding, 
more adequate for the explanation of the intricate elaborations 
of behaviour. From this point of view, we see the origin of 
those partly mythological images which obsess the naive investi- 

But where must we look for the mechanisms conditioning the 
"functional barrier" and creating the differentiation of the com- 
plex structure of the reactive processes about which we spoke 
in the last chapter? 

The facts which we find in the scientific literature impel us to 
turn our attention to the reciprocities of the higher cortical mech- 
anisms with the general sensibility of the nervous apparatus, and 
to seek for the destruction of the "functional barrier" in the 
places where the former are weakened or where the sub-cortical 
mechanisms with the latter are strengthened. 

Contemporary neurology, on the basis of the facts which we must 
undoubtedly use, begins in the conflicting conceptions of the structure 
of the nervous apparatus. All the authors concur in the opinion that 
the cortex and the recent elaborations of the brain are in conflict with 
the older parts and serve the function of the organiser of the primitive 
impulses connected with the latter parts. 

In 1884, Hughlings Jackson outlined the position existing then, showing 
the influence of the brain on function and structure; the conclusion was 
that the higher stratum of the nervous apparatus was inhibitory, restrain- 
ing the primitive reactions of the older cerebral systems; this included 
the restraining and organising role of the morphologically higher strata 
of the apparatus as well as the analogous role of the higher functional 
systems, creating the complex processes of biological and historical evolu- 
tion. Jackson and Head, working on aphasia, pointed out the primary 
organising role played by speech on the voluntary and emotional dis- 
turbances occurring when these complex functional strata were injured. 

This exposition is of vital importance for us our further discussion is 
based on it : many experiments show during emotional excitation a marked 
inhibitory role of the cortex. The effect of chloroform and other anesthet- 
ics acting on the cortex are too well known to necessitate description. 
Woodworth and Sherrington described a case in which the appearance 
of symptoms analogous to those seen in an acute affective state was 
produced by allowing strong stimuli to act on the sensory area of the 
cortex; such symptoms were seen in decerebrated cats and in the experi- 
ments of Bazett and Penfield. 1 

1 Bazett and Penfield A Study of the Sherrington Decerebrate Animal, Brain, 
1922, V. 45. Cited by Ph. Bard, The N euro-Humoral Basis of Emotional Re- 
actions, Murchison's Foundations of Experimental Psychology, 1929, p. 472. 


Especially illuminating material comes from the clinic; injury to the 
paths between the cortex and the sub-cortical ganglia chiefly the tha- 
lamus opticus produces a sharp increase of the uncontrolled impulsive, 
emotional movements. In the clinical researches of Wilson, 1 he concludes 
that the destruction of the cortical control leads to a considerable in- 
crease of the sub-cortical activity, which usually holds in check the effect 
of the cortical systems. 

A review of the important data brings one of the authors to the fol- 
lowing decision, very important for us: Philip Bard (above quotation, p. 
477) concludes that "the sub-cortical processes are at every moment 
ready to seize the power over the motor reactions, and every time that 
the cortical restraint is weakened they quickly and vigorously do this." 

The above facts outline a definite path in the investigation 
of the organisation and disorganisation of human behaviour. We 
may presuppose that there is increased diffuseness of the reac- 
tive processes and lowering of the functional barrier where the 
sensibility of the apparatus is increased and the sub-cortical 
processes are more active, and, on the other hand, in those cases 
where the participation of the higher cortical systems in the 
behaviour is weakened that the same cortical apparatus is de- 
fective. We may assuredly expect that the action of the func- 
tional barrier will be closely connected not only in the partici- 
pation with the newer morphological strata of the cortex, but 
with the inclusion of those higher functional systems as indicated 
by Jackson and Head, which could be elaborated only in the 
most intricate processes of psychological development and which 
play not only an inhibitory, but also a formative, organising role. 

Therefore, we should pay particular attention to those cases 
where the sensibility of the nervous system is increased, and 
to the others where the cortical regulators are decreased, im- 
pairing the higher psychological functions. In both instances we 
may expect symptoms of a lowered functional barrier and, in a 
certain degree, a return to a primitive, diffuse structure of the 
reaction. From a careful analysis of these cases it is possible to 
state something more concerning the nature of the given mech- 
anisms than we have heretofore known. 


WE shall discuss only briefly the structure of the reactive proc- 
esses in functional neuroses; for the material which has been 
given in Chapters VIII and IX makes it possible to limit our 
remarks here to only a few conclusions. 

1 Wilson, Modern Problems in Neurology, N. Y., 1929. 


That which is most characteristic of the neurodynamics of the 
functional neurosis has been already described by us as a diffuse 
structure of the reactions connected with a general increased 
excitability, on the one hand, and on the other, a decreased ability 
to restrain the excitation from its direct transfer to the motor 
sphere. In view of these factors, the patients with functional 
neuroses exhibited a picture of intense motor conflicts, deeply 
disorganising their neurodynamics, incapacitating them by an 
isolation from the motor sphere. We discussed these facts in 
detail in regard to neurasthenia as well as hysteria. The former, 
characterised by disorganisation of the behaviour from a weak- 
ening of the cortical regulators and a general hyperexcitability, 
differing from the latter in its etiology, gives, however, a very 
similar structure of the reactive processes. If we take from the 
very heterogeneous group of hysterics those of them who have 
underlying their pathologic condition a constitutional peculiarity 
of their nervous system, we can often observe a completely 
analogous neurodynamical influence, although provoked by a 
different etiology. 

Until recently the question of constitutional peculiarities of the nervous 
system in hysteria was in a state of confusion. However, many of the 
symptoms lead us to believe that in the cases of the constitutionally 
conditioned hysteric we primarily have a considerable increase in the 
functions of the sub-cortical apparatus, accompanying its extreme labile- 
ness. The presence of the symptoms of the vegetative neurosis in 
hysteria, the primitive character of the behaviour often found in these 
diseases tends to confirm the above view. 1 The lowered threshold, the 
presence of secondary reactions (Lowenstein) and many related symp- 
toms, the presence of stigmatism, on the other hand, shows the excessive 
labileness and the excitability of the cortex, which therefore frequently 
begins to refuse to regulate the increased energetic action of the sub- 
cortical apparatus. 

These facts give a general foundation for the comprehension 
of the structure of the hysterical reactions. The experimental 
material confirms and amplifies this picture into a concrete plan. 

A simple experiment shows that the hysteric differs in the 
markedly increased excitability plus the tendency of the exci- 
tation to extend directly to the motor sphere. We tell the hysteri- 
cal patient to put his hand passively on the pneumatic bulb, 
and inform him that we shall register its tremors, and then 
suddenly give an auditory stimulus, unexpected by the subject ; 

1 C. Gordanesco: Conception nouvelles stir V hysteric, Bucharest, 1926. 


whilst in the normal subject this auditory shock produces only 
a slight tremor, in the neurotic there is a very conspicuous 
motor disturbance not comparable to the normal, either in form 
or intensity. Lowenstein (Experiment elle Hysterielehre, 1923) 
sees in these phenomena the fundamental features of the neuro- 
dynamics of hysteria, and we have had an opportunity to con- 
firm this. 


Figure 108 gives the characteristic reactions to shock in the 
normal subject and in the hysterical patient. It is obvious that 
the general excitability and the direct extension (already de- 
scribed by Lowenstein and brought out especially in Curve C) 
is characteristic of the neurodynamics of the functional illness. 

We shall now take up the diffuse direct action of the receptory 
excitation to the reactive process characterising the behaviour 
of the hysteric. 

The distinguishing feature of the reactions of the normal 
human adult is the little-known fact that the change of intensity 
of the stimulus cannot produce a proportional change of the 
intensity of the reaction; this gives the impression that the 
connecting, coupling-up system plays only the role of including 
the standard motor response, not placing the motor system in 
dependence upon the intensity of the given signal. 

An entirely different picture is observed in functional neurotics. 
The stimulus does not play here the role of a simple conditioned 
signal, always including the same mass of motor excitation; but 
thanks to the diffused character of the reactions produced by 
the stimulus, the excitation directly seeps over into the motor 
sphere, and it is evident that during this the motor reactions 
begin to depend upon the strength of the given signal; the 
intensive signal directly calls out an intensive reaction which 


varies with the strength of the process of the excitation produced 
by the stimulus. 

if i 


Figure 109 demonstrates such a direct dependence of the 
reactive movements upon the intensity of the stimulus. Patient 
Zhuk. (hysteria) reacts by a sharp and impulsive disturbance 
every time we give her a strong signal, and this is evidence that 
we have here a qualitatively different structure of the reactions 
distinguished by the absence of the well-elaborated and standard 
motor automatisms, brought about by the conditioned stimulus 
and characterised by the direct passage of the receptory exci- 
tation into the motor area. 

In this experiment we touch on two phenomena almost pathognomonic 
of hysteria. Firstly, we are inclined to see here a psychophysiological 
foundation for the increased suggestibility of the hysteric; the imme- 
diate subordination of his motor receptory phenomena are very con- 
spicuous ; such a direct tendency of the realisation of the external stimulus 
in the motor region, we consider one of the most important factors of 
his suggestibility. 

Secondly, there is this very interesting fact: the direct extension of 
the excitation is dependent not only on the intensity of the given stimulus 
but also upon the level of the tension, which, until this time, was present 
in the central system. The centrally arising excitation is unable to isolate 
itself from the motor sphere just as is the stimulus. Two examples of 
this are given in Figure no. 


JL %Lfw 


A B C 

toy No.tto 



Here we give an example of reactions to a normal and to a strong 
signal, and then we forewarn the subject that we will give him a strong 
stimulus, but actually give him the usual, normal one. The tension pro- 
duced by the expectation, however, causes a marked disturbance, com- 
pletely deforming the normal reactive process (Curve C). We tell the 
subject that when we count "three" we will give him a shock, and after 
this we count but do not give the stimulus. As the experiment shows, the 
preliminary expectation creates in the subject such a tension that he 
cannot prevent the motor overflow, and Curve D illustrates the intensity 
of this phenomenon. 

The impulsive and direct character of the neurodynamics of the hys- 
terical patient has in its own changes of structure the same reactive 

In the experiments with ideo-motor phenomena we have a 
confirmation of the diffusion of the reactive processes in the 
hysteric. When every external stimulus provokes in these pa- 
tients a tendency to a direct extension to the motor system we 
cannot expect a different effect from the excitation of central 
origin. The great strength which the ideo-motor phenomena 
acquire in the hysteric has been adequately described in psycho- 
logical and medical literature, and has served as a determining 
factor in the qualification of behaviour as hysterical. Stigmatism 
and conversion, the symbolic basis of the somatic disturbances, 
are evidence of the property of the central excitation to pass over 
into the motor area. Numerous experiments prove that this 
phenomenon is preserved in many of our patients, and it is not 
necessary to substantiate this obvious fact by protocols. We 
again come to the increased sensibility of the nervous apparatus, 
being manifested in the conditions of the lowered functional 


barrier and the absence of a functional isolation of excitation 
in these patients. The neurodynamical processes of every excita- 
tion in the hysterical patient tends to reach directly its motor 
termination, and these facts which we have just adduced show 
that even the most intense force is unable to restrain this 
impulsive behaviour. 

These facts are brought out especially clearly when we ask 
the hysterical subject to inhibit his usual speed of the reaction 
and to slow it down as much as possible. In the experiments 
with the delayed reactions, described before, the extreme impul- 
siveness of the hysterics was not able to isolate the excitation 
from the direct transfer to the motor area; as a rule, the signal 
produced a slow motor impulse which was then inhibited ; instead 
of the regulated movements, according to the ordinary motor 
formula, there were secondary trials to control the impulsive 
reactions, not always successful but always characteristic of the 
hysteric. A comparative picture of the slow pressures in the 
normal and hysteric subjects have already been given (Chapter 
IX, section 3) ; these data show that the previously elaborated 
formulae for the delayed movements play a part here in the 
secondary delay of the direct motor impulse. 

The impulsive character of the reactive processes in hysteria 
is manifested in the experiments where there is a preliminary 
organised inhibition of the movements and a transfer of the 
excitation to the motor sphere only when the corresponding 
reactions have been prepared by the central, coupling-up proc- 
esses. In these instances the hysteric is most helpless, and in the 
experiments with the complicated reactions of choice we obtain 
a picture similar to that described for the young child. Ordi- 
narily the motor innervation does not await the moment when 
in the preliminary process the regular choice of the movement 
will have been made; it begins long before this, and the actual 
process of choosing is accomplished not prior to the motor reac- 
tion, but after it has started; the excitation is too early and it 
flows without obstruction into the motor area, and in the unfit- 
ness for this motor apparatus is the conflict of choice; in the 
hysteric the movement of choice is complicated by the uncertain 
impulsive attempts of the usual response. A cinematograph of 
such cases shows that a stimulus given the subject immediately 
evokes impulsive movements which are quickly inhibited, and the 
reactions are terminated with much less assurance than in the 
normal adult where they are prepared in the preliminary period. 

Those profound alterations in the structure of the reactive 


process which we have pointed out previously in the analysis 
of the child's behaviour is equally characteristic for the hysteric. 
The general increased excitability, not colliding with the stable 
functional barrier, brings about the diffuseness of the reaction, 
distinguishing it from the structure of the reactive processes 
in the normal adult, and creating a specific psychophysiological 
basis of hysterical behaviour. 

That diffuse character of the reactive processes seen in hysteria is 
reflected in the whole behaviour. The tendency of the excitation to pass 
over directly into the motor sphere has its counterpart in the thinking 
of the hysteric, and we are justified in believing that his thinking 
differs as much as his behaviour from that of the normal subject. Logical 
judgments cannot play the same role here that they do in the normal, 
but on the contrary, direct conclusions, logical Kurzschliisse, impulsive 
judgment and primitive elaborations of understanding have a different 
significance from what they have in the normal subject of the same 
intellectual level For many reasons we think that there is such a primi- 
tive structure of the hysteric's thinking. Experiments done with Vuigotsky 
and Eidinov confirm this view. 


EXPERIMENTS on hysterical patients prove that during the in- 
creased excitability observed in them the functional barrier is 
usually destroyed and the reactive process takes on a diffuse 
character. These facts, which we have twice mentioned in this 
discussion, were not unexpected; in the existing sensibility of 
the nervous apparatus and the tendency to mobilise inadequate 
masses of excitation we obtain naturally those defects in the 
delay of this excitation ; in our conception this is connected with 
the diffuse structure of the reactive process. 

It is not surprising that the diffuse character of the reaction 
was associated with the increased constitutional labileness of 
the nervous apparatus; but it is of more interest that the 
analogous diffusion of the neurodynamics is present in the cases 
having an entirely different neurodynamical structure. The dif- 
fuse character of the reactive processes may be a consequence 
of the insufficiency of the higher cortical mechanisms equally 
as well as a result of the increased excitability and sensibility 
of the sub-cortical and vegetative apparatuses. The externally 
equivalent symptoms may conceal entirely different etiologies, 
and therefore a diligent study of the latter may be extremely 


helpful in the understanding of the interesting mechanisms lying 
at the basis of the organisation and disorganisation of human 

If we desire to study the neurodynamical processes analogous 
to those which we have already considered, but under the con- 
ditions of an increased activity of the higher cortical systems, we 
should make use of the cases where, as a result of the lack of 
development of the cortex, its higher regulating activity is weak- 
ened. Such instances can be found in the more serious forms of 
mental retardation. 

While in hysteria the transfer to the diffuse structure of the 
reactive process is accompanied by a general increased sensibility 
of the nervous apparatus, in the experiments with the forms of 
cortical insufficiency found in oligergasia or imbecility the change 
in structure of the reactive processes is associated with just the 
reverse with a destruction of the higher regulating mechanisms. 

At first we might suppose that mental retardation is limited by 
alterations in the complex intellectual processes and that the 
existing disturbance there does not get through deeper than the 
neurodynamical stratum in which the intellect participates and 
which is insufficient in oligergasia. 

However, our supposition is entirely wrong. All of human be- 
haviour is strictly dependent upon the higher cortical mechanisms 
which we are accustomed to designate as the intellectual proc- 
esses. Experimentation shows that the simplest acts of behaviour 
are intimately connected with the most complex cortical proc- 
esses, that in the activity of the human there are not any strata 
which cannot be included in the system of the higher cortical 
regulators, and the structure of the simplest reactive processes 
is entirely reconstructed, as we can see in those cases where 
a disturbance of the central nervous system reduced the activity 
of the higher functions usually considered as purely intellectual. 

Increased tendon reflexes have been described for a long time in cases 
of oligergasia (imbecility, feeblemindedness), 1 supposedly caused by the 
weakened influence of the cortex on the lower-lying centers owing to 
undeveloped pyramidal paths. 2 

Many changes are observed in the conditioned reflex activity in oli- 
gergasia. Many investigators have shown that while the positive reflexes 
are elaborated more quickly in the mentally retarded, the differentiations 
and very weak and unstable. 3 The excitation produced in oligergasia has 

1 Dupre et Merklen: Revue Neurol., 1909; Dupre et Gilma, idem., 1910. 

2 For description of motor symptoms in this disease see Gurevitch: Psycho- 
motorika, Moscow, 1930, p. 89 (Russian). 

8 V. N. Ossipov, Speed of Formation of Reflexes in School Children, Re- 
flexology, ii, 1926 Ilinsky, Processes of Excitation and Inhibition in Mentally 



considerable inertia, and the facts of perseveration and inability to inhibit 
the beginning excitation brings the authors to the conclusion that the 
most characteristic feature in these cases is the disturbance of the regulat- 
ing nervous processes, and that the defects in the higher cortical systems 
are manifested clearly in the less complicated strata of reflex activity. 

After tie facts bearing witness to the great disorganisation of 
the reflex activity in oligergasia, the serious disintegration char- 
acterising the course of the simplest processes, we will not be 
surprised if specific experiments reveal decisive changes in the 
structure of simplest reactions, sharply distinguishing them from 
normal children of the same age. 

Our experiments (chiefly the material of M. C. Lebedinsky) 
convincingly proved that the structure of the reactive processes 
is disturbed at its very basis and that these fundamental disin- 
tegrations bring about the substitution of the differentiated struc- 
ture of the diffuse reaction, with an acute injury of the functional 
barrier and with complete inability to restrain the beginning 
process of excitation, and to isolate it from the direct transfer 
to the motor sphere. The tendency to a direct discharge charac- 
terises the imbecile in all of his acts, and is frequently associated 
with excessive excitability present in most oligophrenics. 

Those phenomena noted during hysteria usually arise from 
a different basis, with insufficiency of different mechanisms ; and 
those defects in the activity of the functional barrier are con- 
nected there with hypersensibility of the nervous apparatus, but 
here with the failure of the complex regulating parts of the 

The principal laws governing the neurodynamics of oligergasia 
are brought out in the experiments with simple reactions to a 
signal. Those peculiarities which we observe here differentiate 
the imbecile from the normal person. 

Our attention is brought first to the picture of the simple 
reactive movements in oligergasia, the considerably lowered abil- 
ity to elaborate the higher automatisms and to give reactions 
characterising the definite standard forms. This defect in the 
elaboration of the "motor formula" is clearly expressed in the 
fact that the imbecile gives motor curves distinguished by an 
excessive variability. Our facts convince us that, in distinction 
to that picture which we are accustomed to see in the normal sub- 
ject, the reactions of the oligergastic are not constructed accord- 

Retarded Children, Dissertation, 1928. U. Segal, Elaboration of Conditioned 
Reflexes and Differentiations in Oligophrenia, Jour, of Neuro pathology of 
Korsakov, 1927. A. L. Shnirman, Reciprocal Relations of Positive Reflexes in 
Oligophrenia, Reflexology, in, 1930. 


ing to a definite model, and they are sharply differentiated one 
from the other in the form as well as in the intensiveness of the 
movements. It is obvious that these processes are characterised 
by unequal mobilisation of the excitation, and that the prelim- 
inary elaboration of the stable motor formulae is very much 
weakened here. The behaviour of the oligergastic is not disor- 
ganised, because it was never organised, and the insufficiency of 
the higher regulating cortical functions is in the defects of or- 

F.y N.M2. 


ganisation in the fairly primitive functions. The defects of regu- 
lation are much greater along other lines, in the impossibility 
for the oligergastic to mobilise adequate amounts of excitation 
for each stimulus. As in the very young child, we see here, as 
a rule, a mass of excitation considerably greater than can be 
used in the reactions, and the additional impulsive pressures 
coming after each reaction show that there is a marked weaken- 
ing of the ability to isolate the excitation from the motor sphere. 
Figure 112 shows the typical section of an experiment with 


an imbecile, and that the extra impulses are expressed here 
much more distinctly than usual. It is characteristic of the neuro- 
dynamics of oligergasia that these extra pressures, which manifest 
in normal children a tendency to inhibition and delay (see Chap- 
ter X, section 3) do not have this tendency here. The regulating 
systems are not involved in these extra pressures, and therefore 
the coefficient of inhibition in the extra impulses frequently takes 
on a negative sign. This was shown convincingly by Lebedinsky, 
and it gives the basis for thinking that in this phenomenon we 
have a key to the functional understanding of the nervous insuf- 
ficiency in oligergasia. We think that this insufficiency is bril- 
liantly shown in the general picture of mental retardation, and 
has at its basis the defects in the regulations of the behaviour 
proper. The cortex in its higher divisions not only connects a 
person, with the surroundings, but with the help of the specific 
psychological mechanisms, plays a role of organiser and regu- 
lator of its acts. The oligophrenic is able to control certain ex- 
ternal situations, it can even decide fairly complicated problems ; 
but it never attempts to control itself, and in this relation the 
statement of Segen that "the mentally retarded primarily strive 
with the defects of will" is perfectly correct. 

These defects are clearly brought out in experiments in which 
we attempt to make the oligergastic modify the style of his reac- 
tions, and control his behaviour. When we ask him to give de- 
layed reactions this becomes exceedingly difficult and well-nigh 
impossible for him. The type of curves obtained are characteristic 
of the structure of the neurodynamical processes of the oligo- 

Figure 113 gives the delayed reactions of a normal child and 
of an imbecile. The chief difference is that the normal child has 
a certain tonus in the regulating inhibition of its motor process, 
but the regulating inhibition is entirely lacking in the oligergastic. 
The movement of the latter shows a direct discharge (Unmittel- 
bare Entladung) ; the subject gives a very delayed impulsive 
pressure, holds the hand then for some time under tension (hence 
the plateau in the curve), and again presses directly and impul- 
sively. As a result we do not have a single, regulated movement, 
but three separate acts, equally impulsive and direct. The im- 
becile is not able to execute a motor act of any prolonged, or- 
ganised, cortical process, and it is therefore not surprising that 
in the further experiments, instead of following our instructions, 
and producing regulated and organised movements, we get primi- 
tive and chaotic ones. 





Of great interest are those cases in which the oligergastic 
attempts to bring about some activity requiring inhibition of its 
excitatory process so that it does not reach the motor termina- 
tion. As in the other instances, we have here to do with the 
reactions of choice, demonstrating the weak moments in the 
organised activity of the oligophrenic. Here we undoubtedly have 
facts which we might observe in young children and in hysterical 
subjects, although the mechanism of the disturbances is very dis- 
similar. In the figures already given from the work of Lubimov 
concerning the reactions of choice, we have seen what are the 
characteristics of the neurodynamical process: the stimulus pro- 
vokes a direct motor impulse, not delayed by the absence of 
the prepared decision; the child begins the movements earlier 
than it realises the choice and precisely because its choice is 
determined by the motor process; the curve of the reaction of 
choice is reflected in the complicated fluctuations in the motor 
cycle, and it clearly indicates the weakness here of that functional 
barrier which might delay the movement and transfer the ex- 
citation to the motor system only after the preliminary connec- 
tion is effected. 

Figure 114 contains the cyclograms of the reactions of choice 


in the oligergastic compared with those in the normal child. The 
diffuse character of the reactive processes in the mentally defec- 
tive show at once that the higher cortical mechanisms are very 
important in the elaboration of the functional barrier. We are 
convinced from this that the defect of the cortical apparatus 
produces not only an abatement of the intellectual processes, but 
profound changes in the very structure of the simplest neuro- 
dynamical acts. 

The behaviour and thinking of the oligophrenic convinces us that the 
defect of the functional barrier, the tendency of all excitation to dis- 
charge immediately, has for the imbecile a special significance. His im- 
pulsiveness, his inability to restrain from the fulfilment of every wish, 
the direct response to each stimulus represents the life of the mentally 
retarded. The reactions to an intellectual problem before it is solved, the 
impulsive trials and errors, where judgment is necessary, create that 
complex of voluntary and intellectual defects which are perhaps most 
characteristic of the oligergastic. . . . * 

Our conclusion brings us to a recognition of the significant and 
deciding role of those functions which are connected with the 
higher parts of the cortical apparatus in the creation of that 
form of regular motor activity which we see in every human 
adult and in the work of the functional barrier. 

FIG. 114 





HOWEVER, the facts obtained still do not solve the problem. 
The defect in the structure of the reactive processes in the or- 
ganised insufficiency of the cortical apparatus, it is true, indicates 

iFor a discussion of the investigations of these symptoms see de Greef's 
Essays sur la personaliU du debUe mental, Jour, de Psychologic, vol. 24, No. 5 


a connection between the latter and those higher and specific 
forms of the organisation of human behaviour, but it does not 
give any clear answer to the question of the nature of the mecha- 
nisms of interest to us. In these instances it may be brought out 
that the deformities in the reactive processes are connected with 
the profound neurodynamical changes. We know, however, that 
the organised disturbances in oligophrenia do not exhaust the 
systems directly associated with the intellectual activity, and 
the material is evidence only of the deep changes in the structure 
of the reactive processes in the presence of a seriously damaged 

If we desire to prove that the differentiated structure of the 
reactions and the presence of the functional barrier is connected 
with the activity of the higher functional systems, we must con- 
sider the series of psychological experiments dealing with the 
modifications of the reactive processes in the functional inclusion 
of one or another regulating mechanism. 

We attain this by two simple methods: we may use the nor- 
mal subject while in a condition of extreme fatigue, or we may 
divert the higher regulators from the reactive function, giving it 
another load, inducing the subject to change his attention. 

The first of these methods is a problem of special investiga- 
tion, and we shall not therefore consider it in detail; it is 
necessary only to mention that psychophysiological fatigue is dis- 
tinguished by the physiological symptoms of fatigue (change of 
the vegetative activity, decrease of muscle tone, modification in 
metabolism), but detailed investigations of the activity in fatigue 
have given too little attention to the important fact that intense 
cortical fatigue impairs the higher regulators of behaviour. Many 
facts indicate that activity of the organised functions always 
suffers during marked fatigue ; such a state is usually character- 
ised by the appearance of the uninhibited impulses, and the at- 
tention is of an uninterrupted nature. Other symptoms show that 
the neurodynamics of severe fatigue is associated primarily with 
a conspicuous lowering of the regulating ability of its replacement 
by a disorganised impulsive character of the reactive processes. 

We made our observations on adults, at 7 to 8 p.m., after 
the day's work, so that they came to us very fatigued. The experi- 
ment with the simple reactions to a signal show a number of 
extra impulses, which the subject cannot inhibit, and which al- 
most never occurred in another series of experiments with adults 
in a different setting. Figure 115 illustrates such cases, showing 
the presence of diffuse unregulated excitation. Elsewhere we 



FV,j runs 


present control experiments to prove that connected with the 
serious mental fatigue the weakening of the higher cortical regu- 
lators inevitably leads to a diffused structure of the reactive 

The relation of the "functional barrier" and the organised 
character of the complex reactive processes is brought out espe- 
cially clearly in the experiments with the simple reaction to a 
signal accompanying the diversion of the subject's attention. 

The experiment is done very easily: we violate the rules of our 
usual laboratory procedure for the study of the reactive proc- 
esses; instead of isolating the subject from everything which 
might distract his attention, we do just the opposite while per- 
forming the experiment we converse with him, give him a book 
to read, and at intervals interrupt him by the auditory signal 
requiring the motor response. 

Such a functional exclusion of the higher cortical mechanisms 
from participation of the simple reaction evokes a return to the 
primitive, diffuse type of reactive processes and a sharp lowering 
of the "functional barrier." 


^^""""^ "Y"^^^^^^^T^^^l!r' l ^^^^^^^^^^i^ f 





Figure 116 shows an undoubted connection of the higher 
psychological activity with the structure of the reactive processes. 

To add other examples is unnecessary; control experiments 
prove that when a complex psychological activity ceases to play 
a part in the reactive process, it takes on a primitive, diffuse 

One fact deserves mention here. Those changes in structure of the 
reactive process, obtained during a functional lowering of the cortical 
regulation, may be observed in the transfer to systems farther removed 
from the regulations dealt with in our experiment. A typical representa- 
tive of such a system is the left hand; it is much more poorly regulated 
in the human adult than the right, with which he works and writes, 
and which, being connected with the greater development of the left 
hemisphere, is closer to the centers of speech. 

In the left hand we may expect a greater diffusion of the reactive 
processes only if the organised reactions and the ability to restrain the 
direct transfer of excitation to the motor sphere actually exist, and are 
more closely connected with the higher psychological regulations. 

Our supposition was confirmed; all the experiments with the left hand 
showed a much greater diffusion of the reactive processes and a poorer 
development of the functional barrier here than in the right hand. In 
children where there is some diffusion of the reactive processes, even 
with the right hand, the experiments brought out with marked lucidity 
the increased diffusion present in the transfer to the left hand. 

Figure 117 gives the results of two experiments employing the simple 
reaction to a signal, performed on a child. It is clear that the reactions 
of the left hand show a greater irregularity of the excitatory process 
than those of the right. In Part A we see only the unified extra pressures, 
but in Part B these extra pressures acquire an acute character, being 
scarcely at all regulated by the cortical control. 

The results cannot be attributed to the lack of agility and coordination 
in the left hand. Nor can they be explained by a greater excitation and 
different laws of neurodynamics in comparison with the right hand. The 
phenomena spring from a lessened neurodynamical regulation in the left 
hand, and this is evidently associated with the depressed functional con- 
nection with the higher processes of organised behaviour in comparison 
with the right which plays in behaviour the active, leading role. 


OUR experiments showed that we should establish complex, or- 
ganised reactive processes in association with the higher psy- 
chological functions connected with the cortical mechanisms; 
and from this we concluded that the nature of the functional 
barrier and the complex organisation is a question not only of 
methodology concerning the higher stages of the nervous ap- 
paratus, but it has to do with the functional systems playing 




the part of a regulator in behaviour. By diverting the active 
attention, giving the subject some other work to do, we were 
able to obtain the same reversion to a primitive, diffused form 
of reaction as we had in an organised injury of the higher parts 
of the cortex, or during a constitutional hyperexcitability of 
the cortical, and especially subcortical, apparatus. 

This brings us to the conclusion that in the reactive processes 
of the human we do not have the simple phenomena which might 
be governed by the laws for the lower reflex mechanisms. Many 
considerations confirm us in the opinion that the reactive move- 
ments of the adult differ qualitatively from those of reflex ac- 
tivity, that they are constructed not only from below out of 
the simplest neurodynamical mechanisms, but also from above, 
according to those laws which govern the activity of the higher 
psychological systems. 

The analysis of a simple reaction has already shown us that 
in the human adult it is connected with an adequate elaboration 
of the motor formula, with the inhibition of extra impulsive acts, 
with the organised response to a signal. The specific features of 
the complex organisation of the reactive process was seen very 


clearly in the reaction of choice. The splitting of the reactive 
process into two phases, the first of which, separated from the 
movement, plays a preliminary part, effecting the intricate cou- 
pling-up, and the second, a purely executive one, bringing about 
the movement, marshalling the prepared coupled-up, complicated 
mechanisms x all this makes the reactive activity of the human 
a process realised on the basis of the higher functional systems, 
fully developed only under the influence of cultural growth. By 
virtue of this the reactive processes are separated from the 
reflexes; they are arranged according to another plan, including 
complicated auxiliary mechanisms, and they cannot be under- 
stood on the basis of the process of mechanical union, which is 
the starting point for the simple conditioned reflexes. 

The external similarity and the astonishing syncretism of thinking has 
induced many authors to correlate the reactive process of the human with 
the conditioned reflexes. Only the presence of stimulus and motor response 
is common in the two cases. While the conditioned reflex is formed by 
the union of the unconditioned stimulus with the conditioned signal, the 
simple psychological reaction is elaborated on the basis of speech 2 and 
includes the higher symbolic (in their genesis and social character) 
mechanisms. If the conditioned reflex requires many reinforcements of 
the unconditioned, the psychological reaction is elaborated at once and 
does not need any support; it does not obey the law of extinction, and 
on further repetitions it is only more and more strengthened. . . . 

There is reason to believe that in the two cases we are dealing with 
different mechanisms. One of our basic principles the extraordinary 
stability of the reactive process once it has been coupled-up does not 
require an external reinforcement, and this leads us to the view that in 
the composition of the reactive process there are present some higher 
psychological mechanisms supporting and causing the reactive process. 

The internal structure of the simple reactions is thus a very 
complicated one and we should search for the specific mechanisms 
concealed within it and having to do with its regulation. Un- 
doubtedly these higher mechanisms are connected with the re- 
construction of the reactive process ; and those profound changes 
which distinguish the reaction of the adult from that of the child 
are tied up with the inclusion in the reactive process of the 
complex regulating mechanisms. Evidently with these there 
should be associated the stability of the reaction of the adult 
(absent in the child) as well as the process of control of the 

1 The experiments of Morozova done in our laboratory (Psychological De- 
velopment of the Reaction of Choice). 

2 For an exposition of the opposite view, that words themselves are but 
conditioned stimuli, one must consult Pavlov and his pupils, particularly Ish- 
londsky: Neuropsyche und Hirnrinde, Bd. 2, Wien, 1931, reviewed in Arch. 
Neurology and Psychiatry, Dec. 1931. Translator, 


direct motor discharge, and that mechanism of the functional 
barrier which we consider decisive for the complex organised, 
reactive process. 

All these mechanisms should stand in dependence upon the 
presence of the higher regulating mechanisms organising human 
behaviour, and during the failure of these mechanisms the be- 
haviour must suffer. Damage to the higher functional mechanisms 
entails profound changes of the simple reactive processes. This 
fact serves as a proof of the complicated structure. 

For the decision of this question we experiment with an im- 
paired speech activity. Many investigations l have separated the 
speech function from other psychological functions, as something 
specific. Observations on children showed that the speech ceases 
to play a purely communicating part, and begins to assume that 
specific organising role which we might term instrumental. Pre- 
cisely in the activity connected with speech we succeeded in ob- 
serving the transfer from the primitive, diffuse and direct process 
to the process splitting into two functionally different phases 
the phases of preparation and of execution. By virtue of speech, 
the primitive impulsiveness is overcome, and the direct attempts 
of adaptation are substituted by the preliminary connection in 
words ; after this comes the motor execution. 

The speech and activity connected with it are functions which 
have played in many processes an organising role, and therefore 
in its pathology we have decided to search for the disturbances of 
the complex processes. 

We return to the investigation of aphasia. 

We intentionally started this book with a discussion of cases of aphasia. 
The instances cited proved that during aphasia there occurs not only a 
simple dropping out of speech as a communicating function, but this 
is associated with a disintegration of the whole organised behaviour, and 
that for the aphasiac there become impossible the acts of behaviour 
which present no difficulty for the normal person. Simple experiments 
on aphasia show that the limits of speech are not where we are accus- 
tomed to see them, that numerous functions externally having nothing 
to do with speech are actually verbalised, and after impairment of the 
speech function, they drop out. The aphasiac easily produces imitative 
movements, but it is very difficult for him to imitate a person facing 
him using the homonymous hand, i.e., the one opposite his corresponding 
hand instead of being on the same side. Such an action as carrying out 
the instruction, "Raise the right hand when I raise my right," obviously 
requires the use of the function of language, and is wellnigh impossible 
in the absence of speech. 

iVuigotsky and Luna: Studies in the History of Behaviour, Moscow, 1930. 
Vuigotsky: Foundations of Thinking and Speech, Nature and Marxism, 1929, 
No. i. Luria: Development of the Child's Thinking, Ibid., No. 2. 


Our experiments brought out the fact that aphasia is associated with 
a marked disintegration in the elaboration of intention. The aphasiac 
is helpless when we give him something necessitating an elaborated pur- 
pose; for example the indefinite command to "do something" or "draw 
something" frequently places before the aphasiac an insuperable diffi- 
culty; often in connection with the obstacle in the elaboration of inten- 
tion the aphasiac is unable to draw any figure, not knowing "with what 
to begin"; the failure of speech leads to complete helplessness in those 
strata of behaviour where we properly do not suspect the participation 
of language. 

The failure of the higher regulating systems is inevitably connected 
with the intensifying of the primitive reactions, which in the governing 
action of speech is suppressed and replaced by the higher forms of adapta- 
tion. In the aphasiac the reasoning power (by virtue of which a definite 
act is completed) frequently suffers; by way of compensation there 
occurs an involuntary and sometimes impulsive subordination of that 
usual optical structure in which it happens. 

Here is an example to illustrate how difficult it is for the aphasiac 
to execute an organised action arising as a result of the experimentally 
produced purpose, and how easily the voluntary act is substituted in him 
by an impulsive one. Patient Chas., 55 years old, with amnestic aphasia; 
experiment of 30 April 1930. Before the patient was placed a wooden 
spoon, a pencil, paper. He is asked to repeat the actions made by the 
experimenter. The latter takes the spoon and with the handle he writes 
on the paper the figure "5." The patient looks at the experimenter, takes 
the pencil, and writes "5" on the paper. The ordinarily optically active 
situation of the pencil-paper provokes in him an indirect tendency which 
is substituted by the inappropriate operation of the experimenter, but 
this does not meet with any opposition on the part of the aphasiac. 

Experiment of 24, May 1930. As above, the patient is told to repeat 
the acts of the experimenter. Before him is a box of matches, a wooden 
spoon, and a candle-stick. The operator scratches the spoon on the box 
of matches and goes through the motions of lighting the candle. The 
patient takes the match-box, turns it around, takes out a match, strikes 
it and lights the candle. The presence of the match-box in the hand, 
produces the customary cycle of events, not corresponding to the pre- 
sented image. The senseless performance here is substituted by the ap- 
propriate, spontaneous action, the mechanism of which leads to a direct 
motor sequence of the situation. 

All of our experiments with amnestic aphasia show a serious disin- 
tegration of behaviour, with a weakening of the regulating mechanisms 
and a corresponding lack of control of the optical situation, and a direct 
execution of the motor act. Similar results have been obtained by Griin- 
baum, Cell and other authors. 

Naturally, under these conditions, we may expect that the 
aphasiacs will exhibit a greatly changed structure of the reactive 
process and that the functional barrier will be disturbed. 

In the experiments with the simple reactions to a signal we 
did not obtain any remarkable data; the experiments were too 
simple for our aphasiacs and too automatic, and therefore we 


saw neither an acute disturbance of the reactive processes nor 
the presence of extra pressures. The fact that most of our sub- 
jects were of the inhibitory type may have had to do with the 
lack of excitation in the reactions. 

Nevertheless, in the serious cases of aphasia there was con- 
siderable disturbance in the reactive processes, a sudden weaken- 
ing of the functional barrier with emancipation of the spontaneous 


Figure 118 contains the protocol of such a case. After the ade- 
quate, regular and coordinated reactions, there are signs of diffuse 
excitation and the mobilisation of inadequate masses of energy, 
and suddenly the inadequate pressures become emancipated from 

the signals The absence of the inhibition of the extra pressures 

usual in such cases distinguishes them from those, as in children, 
where the regulating systems are weak and included in the action 
only after a delay. (See Chapter X, section 3.) 

A more marked picture of the disturbance of the functional 
barrier in aphasia can be observed in those cases where in view 
of the conditions of the experiment the intention in the action 
was delayed, being temporarily cut off from the motor system. 
A simple experiment shows us that the regulating psychological 
functions are disturbed. 

The desired situation is obtained when we have the subject 
make a movement according to a command counting to three. 



For the normal subject to give himself a command by making 
the definite movement on the count of "three" is very easy. The 
psychological structure of the process corresponds to our prob- 
lems: the first figure ("One") creates the intention which the 
normal restrains until the end of the command. 

This simple response is impossible to obtain in severe cases 
of aphasia. In aphasia with apraxia we often see complete in- 
ability to restrain the intention created from a direct transfer 
to the motor system, and destruction of this comparatively simple 


In Figure 119 with the patient Chas. we perform the following 
experiment : we ask him to count three and then press the pneu- 
matic bulb with his finger, showing him once or twice exactly 
how to do this. The subject was unable to carry out the instruc- 
tions; the pressure is given to the first figure of the count and 
held until the end. The signal creating the intention is for him 
the signal for the execution of the act, and the attempt to restrain 
it, to complete this as if it were a simple instruction produces 
a considerable destruction of the motor curve. The insufficiency 
of the functional barrier is so great that the subject continues to 


exhibit a direct transfer of the excitation to the motor sphere. 

Such a picture is seen very clearly in those cases where there 
is at the beginning of the experiment an establishment of certain 
preliminary connections and then their execution into actions. We 
repeated the experiments of choice in patients with severe am- 
nestic aphasia, and we were able to establish a transfer to the 
diffuse type of reaction with the absence of the inhibition of the 
excitation and its transfer to the motor sphere. 

The explanation is not to be found in the failure of the patient 
to understand ; the insufficiency is not marked by the delay and 
refusal often seen in adults, but by a direct motor excitation of 
the hand and seeking movements in the air which finally lead to 
a definite (though not always correct) reaction. 

The disappearance of the regulating speech mechanisms in the 
aphasiac causes a diffuse reaction and the same unregulated im- 
pulsiveness seen in the child and in hysteria 

Our view of aphasia differs radically from the ordinary one; we hold 
that there is a disturbance of will as well as that of intellect, because 
in the aphasiac the impaired speech produces a disintegration of the 
elaboration of intention. The patient is not able to separate himself 
from the immediate surroundings and create that which we call "volun- 
tary intention." The problem to "do something," so indefinitely formu- 
lated and requiring an active elaboration of intention provokes a maximal 
difficulty. On the other hand, the intention is not . restrained, and the 
signal giving rise to it simultaneously calls out the reaction. Therefore 
the aphasiac falls under the influence of the situation and is not able to 
master it. With the failure of the regulating and inhibiting functions, 
every tension created in the personality appears with an insurmountable 
force. The very clear and stable manifestations of those Quasi- Bediirjnisse 
are met with precisely in aphasiacs, and at almost every turn of their 
behaviour. This is evidenced by the prominent role of perseveration in 
aphasia; the whole structure of the paraphasiacal disturbance of speech 
with the jumbled and broken words can be explained from this point of 
view. We have noted during the play and drawing of the aphasiac the 
Quasi- Bedurfnisse described by Lewin to be especially uncontrollable. 

We come to the conclusion that speech is a preeminent factor in 
behaviour, and that the investigation of the neurodynamical activity of 
the human with an impaired function of speech is a problem of great 
interest for our analysis. 


WE may briefly summarise our views concerning the nature of 

the functional barrier and the structure of the reactive processes. 

The reactive process as we know it in the normal adult human 


is a complicated elaboration, in structure not having anything 
in common with those impulsive reactions which we observed 
in the child or the reflex activity of animals. The chief difference 
of the reactive process from those forms of activity in the child 
and animals is that in the former the direct character of the 
motor discharge is controlled and it is a process in which the 
same cortical mechanisms act under the conditions of the com- 
plex functional inclusion. 

It is thus incorrect to say that the stimulus directly pro- 
vokes the reaction. The psychological act differs from the reflex 
movement in that the former is always along an intricate, cir- 
cuitous path. 

The outstanding feature of this indirect character of the re- 
active process is the fact that the tendency of every natural 
reflex act to discharge its excitation directly is controlled in the 
complex reactive process ; there is created, as we know, between 
the excitation and the motor sphere a functional barrier which 
restrains this transfer of the excitation and permits it only after 
the preliminary connections have been completed. This functional 
barrier is destroyed during affect and during conflict, and these 
states show that the reactive process becomes diffused, and the 
excitation is able to pass over into the motor area. This condition 
is intensified by the fact that in affect and neuroses there is a 
tendency to mobilisation of inadequate masses of excitation and 
the personality loses the power of organising higher forms of 

In studying the genesis of the reactive movements, we see 
that the functional barrier does not exist in the early years of 
childhood, but is elaborated rather late. Experimentation shows 
that it appears about the time of the development in the child 
of the active organisation of speech, and that it is absent in cases 
of serious mental retardation. All this connects the functional 
barrier with the higher psychological mechanisms, and the data 
of aphasia place it in direct relation to speech and symbolic 
mechanisms, the falling out of which produces a diffused reaction. 

This leads us to believe that in the functional barrier we have 
not a natural mechanism but one of cultural origin, and that 
we may connect it with any purely morphological elaboration in 
the cortical system, but not with a conception of the unlinking 
or weakening of the synapses between the central activity and 
the motor area, but with a functional inclusion in the reactive 
process of the intricate psychological systems having a general 
regulating character. 


The inclusion in the reactive process of the systems of internal 
speech or the analogous systems of the auxiliary stimuli is, we 
think, fully adequate for the explanation of the mechanism of 
the functional barrier. It indicates that the reactive process is 
a complicated psychological one; it reveals those possible forces 
that restrain the excitation from a direct discharge and leads to 
the understanding of the mechanism of the establishment of the 
psychological reactions. 

As a result of such an explanation of the reactive process two factors 
arise. The first has to do with the stability of the reaction; this we 
have mentioned previously. Psychologists are accustomed to study a 
reaction, post mortem, as it were; they neglect the scores of reactions 
during the formative period, and wait until it is fully formed, thereby 
losing the most interesting part of it: how the reactive movements are 
elaborated, how external reinforcement ceases to be necessary, etc. The 
presence of the internal stimulation of the reactive process, especially 
evident in the first stages of its development before the establishment 
of the constant automatisms, leads us to the adequate decision of this 
problem. Considering the reaction not as a mechanical habit but as a 
mnemonic-technical act, realised by the inclusion of the complex psycho- 
logical mechanisms, we arc enabled to throw some light on the nature 
of the psychological reactions. 

The second factor concerns the explanation of the mechanism of the 
failure of the reactions during the process of conflict. It would be 
strange, indeed, if the comparatively slight intellectual disturbance pro- 
duced by our conflict in the speech function could cause such a serious 
destruction of the motor habits and upset the regular course of the 
reactive processes. . . . 

However, the matter is seen in a new light if we postulate that in the 
structure of the reaction there is included as a regulating factor the 
higher psychological processes, particularly that of speech. From this 
point of view it becomes clear that every, even slight, disturbance in the 
regulating system inevitably brings about a considerable disintegration in 
the regulating systems connected with it. The ready appearance of motor 
disturbances in cases of affect beginning in the intellectual sphere be- 
comes comprehensible. 

The reactive process gains a tremendous advantage by the inclusion in 
it of the regulating functional system, thereby becoming more plastic 
and independent of the mechanical conditions; but at the same time 
this makes it dependent upon accidents which may occur in this regulat- 
ing system, and the case of the failure of speech, the affective disorgani- 
sation of the intellectual processes shows us how deep may be the 
disintegration provoked by the damaging of these higher regulating 

The reactive process of the human adult cannot be explained 
as a mechanical habit ; it is constructed not only from below, but 
from above, it includes within itself the regulating systems of a 
higher psychological order. 


These systems are disturbed during affect and conflict, but 
they may also aid the human in overcoming the disorganisation. 
We come now to the study of the problem of the control of 
behaviour and the mechanics of this process. With extreme cau- 
tion we approach the question which has served as a touchstone 
for all psychological theory, upon which have been focused the 
dreams of idealistic philosophy and of scientific materialism; 
with the help of some experiments we shall attempt to point out 
those mechanisms which appear to us to lie at the basis of the 
psychological control of human behaviour. 




THE study of the mechanisms through which the human 
is able to control his behaviour brings us directly to the 
problem of will. One may state without fear of contra- 
diction that no other psychological question has a history so 
fraught with errors ; the actual history of the study of will is a 
history of mistakes, and the inventory of the contemporary 
psychological conceptions concerning will is a cemetery of falla- 
cies, of loosely put questions and trivial investigations. 

The history of the study of will consists in the battle of two 
main conceptions, different in their postulates but equally false. 
Some investigators, those belonging to the idealistic camp, con- 
sidered will as a phenomenon of spontaneity specific for the 
human; they saw the decision of this problem in the investiga- 
tion of that active tension by virtue of which the human is able 
to alter his behaviour, set himself purposes and energetically and 
voluntarily to accomplish them. In the opinion of these authors 
such a will distinguishes the human from the animal, and while 
the latter controls only his reactivity, the human manifests an 
active, spontaneous, and consequently voluntary behaviour; it 
does not appear at once, existing in embryo in the child, 
being disturbed in mental diseases, and fully developed in the 
normal adult. 1 

While the first group of psychologists considered will as a 
momentous problem in human behaviour and the study of it as 
a problem of psychological science, the second group took the 
opposite position. The psychologists, considering themselves posi- 
tivists, or even materialists, supposed that the "will" force 

1 See Ch. Biihler, Zwei Grundtypen der Lebensprozessen, Ztschft. f. Psy- 
chologic, Bd. 108, 1929. 



should not be a decisive object of psychological investigation. 
Considering such "will power" unable to produce acts, they 
thought that behind this subjective process there must flow some 
definite stimulations impelling the person to that or another 
reaction, having only the appearance of spontaneity. Really at 
the basis of the "willed action" lies some necessity, instinct, or 
tendency. The internal character of the stimulus gives realisation 
to this necessity and makes it appear spontaneous, but back of 
this there is a simple administrative function acting from within 
this necessity. The first group of psychologists made the problem 
one of will-power; the second, a problem of stimuli; the first 
group worked with a freely acting subject, the second, with a 
problem of automata directed by the physiological tension. The 
first school of psychologists sought to find in the will something 
specific for the human ; the second group, counting this premise 
false, looked for the will where they observed the primitive forms 
of activity automatically discharging the internal tension; by 
the investigation of necessity and tendency they hoped to decide 
the problem of the extreme complexity of the will regulators. . . . 

It is not difficult to see how two important schools of thought 
were erected on the basis of these two systems of belief the 
idealists, holding freedom of will, and the mechanists choosing 
the scientific path as the only correct one. 

A careful study of the problem convinces us that the cause 
of the disagreement is not only to be sought in the difference in the 
views and settings of the authors, but in their extreme simplifica- 
tion of the problem; they strive to envisage a unified and single 
process where there exist many interesting mechanisms of the 
apparatus. Precisely this situation leading the authors of the 
first group to postulate a pure spontaneity of the willed act, and 
the second to consider the will as an automatic tendency brings 
about a divorce from reality and is the root of all those errors 
which are responsible for the lack of understanding of the 
mechanisms of voluntary activity. 

The investigations of many psychologists have shown that the 
structure of the willed process cannot be considered as a simple 
one, leading to spontaneous acts as was formerly thought. 1 It had 
already been established that its essential part, the existence of 
the "willed act," could not be reckoned as spontaneous, but on 
the contrary, it manifested all the characteristics of an involun- 
tary, automatic mechanism. Then, that which had always been 

i See A. Michotte et N. Prum: Etude Experimental stir le Choix Volontaire 
et Ses Antecedents Immediate*, Archives de Psychologic, vol. 10, 1910. 


counted as will par excellence was shown to have nothing to do 
with will, and the realisation of the intention or purpose, of the 
preliminary choice or postulated problem, approximated so closely 
in its structure the reflex act that in a detailed analysis they 
practically merged. 

We make our choice perhaps with "freedom," guided by certain 
intellectual rules, emotional motives and accepted decisions, but 
once having chosen, we become slaves of our choice and execute 
purely automatically that act which we have prepared. "The 
willed act is involuntary ; the problem of the will consists in the 
problem of connections. 5 ' 

In the first of these theories there was a discrepancy, and the 
willed act, including, as an executive apparatus, the reflex mech' 
anism, ceased to be so simple as it had formerly appeared. 
Precisely this fact leads us to believe that the question itself 
concerning the will process must be cast in another form, and 
that the problem of the will consists not in conjectures of the 
spontaneous behaviour but in the problem of the spontaneous, 
"willed" control of the prepared automatic mechanisms. This 
brings concreteness to the investigation, although by no means 
solving it. 

If the specificity of the "willed process" actually leads to a 
control of the automatic apparatus, then in what way is this 
control produced? Can we not suppose that the voluntary be- 
haviour of the human is analogous to the performance of a 
machinist starting an engine, and that some free activity a series 
of modernised spirits directs the automatism of the body? Evi- 
dently we are not saved from the metaphysical and idealistic 
points of view, and the problem still remains difficult. 

The authors trying to solve this question belong to the second 
group. Considering the voluntary act as automatic, they claim 
that these automatisms direct the free "I," and they posit that 
the executive of the automatisms is necessity, inclination, emo- 
tion. In the more primitive of these systems the problem of will 
leads to the problem of emotion and the theory of will takes on 
a primitive, hedonistic character. The most representative of 
this group is K. Lewin, who has shown the possibility of the 
elaboration of quasi-necessities (Quasi-Bedurfnisse) creating an 
artificial tension, which is then discharged, diverting our activity 
to the side. 1 

The primitive hedonistic theory of will does not convince us ; 
we cannot believe that the will is such a "slave of passion" as 

*K. Lewin: Wille, Vorsatz und Bediir/niss, 1925. 


is represented by this system. The behaviour of the social human 
is sharply distinguished from the behaviour of an animal in this : 
it is often directed toward the overcoming necessity, inhibiting 
it, controlling it; and the complex forms of human labour pre- 
supposing the "will expressed in attention" (Marx) cannot be 
understood as a simple discharge of the tension created by neces- 
sity. The researches concerning the mechanisms of the "artificial 
necessity" (Quasi-Bediirfnisse) help us better to comprehend the 
mechanics of the voluntary processes, but they fall far short of 
telling us by what means the human establishes the new require- 
ments, and they do not explain the process of human voluntary 
action in all its specificity. 

Nevertheless, the study of the Quasi-Bedurjnisse put us on the 
right path to the decision of these complicated questions. In view 
of the fact that the "voluntary mechanism" is a mechanism of 
subordination especially by the artificially created stimuli, which 
may replace the natural necessity, this theory makes an actual 
step forward in the scientific understanding of this problem. 

Even though the existing mechanisms enter into the composi- 
tion of the "voluntary act," this theory still does not disclose 
the specificity of the resulting behaviour ; the mechanism of the 
Quasi-Bediirjnisse and subordination to them are component parts 
of the voluntary act, but they are always something more because 
they are not specific for the resulting behaviour. When the child 
is interrupted and prevented from completing whatever he is 
about, he returns to it again, thanks to that tension which is 
created in the broken structure of the action, 1 then this is com- 
pleted by virtue of the Quasi-Bedurfnisse, the act is characterised 
by its not having an origin, and the problem of will remains 

Now we feel that we are nearer to the problem of the origin 
of behaviour when we consider it a question not of action, but of 
the origin of such artificial stimuli, and with the hope of explain- 
ing the nature of those of them which are specific for the willed 
act, we attempt to follow the investigation along the path of the 
genetic development. 

The question which arises is this: What is the origin of the 
establishment of such artificial necessities and of the subsidiary 
internal stimuli which distinguish the human from the animal, 
and to some extent the child from the adult? Not only how do 
we spontaneously establish the problems impelling us to definite 

1 Ousjankin : Uber die Wiederaufnahme Unterbrochener Handlungen, Psy- 
chologische Forschungen, Bd. X. 


action, but how do we elaborate those methods which help us 
to realise the action? 

There is undoubtedly a great difference between the simple 
subordination of the necessity whether natural or arising in the 
process of some activity and those complex forms of behaviour 
characterised by the ability to create and to make use of the 
Quasi-Bedurjnisse. This difference is what primarily distinguishes 
the human from the animal, and the fact that the human is able 
to control not only the external world but his own behaviour 
indirectly by the creation of artificial necessities and stimuli pro- 
duced artificially especially for the purpose is a cardinal factor in 
the development of behaviour. 

We have good reason to believe that such behaviour is a com- 
pound product of psychological growth, in the process of which 
the primitive, natural forms of behaviour are complicated by new 
cultural ones, and as a result of this there is elaborated a new 
relation of the personality to its own behaviour. 

This cultural development is the means whereby the human 
may include the dynamical mechanism which allows him to mas- 
ter his behaviour and automatically to bring about the correspond- 
ing actions. Whilst in the first stages of his development the 
human was able to act only on the surroundings, making instru- 
ments which helped him to gain the mastery over the external 
situation in his further growth he began to elaborate those 
artificial stimuli that enabled him to think of himself as an object 
of action and that aided him in controlling his own behaviour. 

Many observations support our view that the consideration of 
the voluntary act as accomplished by "will-power" is a myth, and 
that the human cannot by direct force control his behaviour any 
more than "a shadow can carry stones." The development of the 
voluntary processes comes about as a result of the elaboration 
of the various forms of behaviour, the mobilisation of the Quasi- 
Bedurjnisse to achieve his ends. Voluntary behaviour is the ability 
to create stimuli and to subordinate them; or in other words, to 
bring into being stimuli of a special order, directed to the organi- 
sation of behaviour. 

Ou researches L convince us that such a control comes from 
without, and that in the first stages of the control the human 
creates certain external stimuli, which produce within him definite 
forms of motor behaviour. The primordial voluntary mechanism 

1 See L. C. Vuigotsky: History of the Cultural Development of the Child. 
L. C. Vuigotsky and A. R. Luria: Studies on the History of Behaviour, 
Moscow, 1930. 


evidently consists in the external setting, the production of cul- 
tural stimuli mobilising and directing the natural forces of be- 
haviour. This external auto-stimulation is substituted by an inter- 
nal one ; and the "spontaneous" establishment of the complicated 
Quasi-Bedurjnisse seen in the adult are a result of the profound 
cultural reconstruction of the activity depending on the cortical 
apparatus, without which we could not understand the complex 
psychological functions. 

Of such nature is the structure of the "voluntary act" in its 
most complicated as well as in its elementary manifestations. 
Although the human cannot make a path by virtue of his will 
power, he is able to follow a circuitous route by acting upon 
himself just as he formerly acted upon nature, making use of the 
laws of nature and consciously subordinating them. The problem 
of will is much clearer to us when we examine it in the light of 
historical evolution, creating in the human new qualitative elabo- 

We cannot attempt to decide these questions completely; in 
a series of experiments we shall try only to demonstrate how 
the indirect forms of behaviour can attain the same end as was 
reached through the "will power." Our experiments are but 
an insignificant part of the material necessary for the decision 
of the problems concerning the control of behaviour, but, never- 
theless, they point out the path along which they will be some 
day decided. 

We have good reasons for thinking that voluntary acts should 
not be investigated in the material of the forms of behaviour 
natural for the subject, though differing by great intensity and 
stability ; necessity and inclination, although stable, do not inter- 
est us. On the contrary, we are concerned with the forms of 
behaviour having to do with control, with those factors appear- 
ing when the human overcomes his customary reactive processes 
and replaces them by other less habitual ones. From this point of 
view, the voluntary action begins at the end of that action pro- 
voked by direct necessity and inclination; James was entirely 
right when he gave as a typical example of a voluntary act the 
instance of a person forcing himself to jump out of bed on a cold 

We shall do better by beginning with a difficult case and study- 
ing the voluntary processes in situations where the subject suc- 
ceeds in mastering some idiosyncrasy of his behaviour ; and then 
we can approach the mechanism of the psychological processes of 
interest to us. 


Can such control of those forms of behaviour customary for 
the subject be effected by the aid of will power ? We feel inclined 
to answer this in the negative. Our experiments must, however, 
give experimental verification for our answer; we may expect 
negative results, and in the setting of the experiment we shall 
find that question which was present in the theory: How is the 
subject able to control his behaviour? Upon an ingenious experi- 
ment depends the creation of a situation which will lead the sub- 
ject to control his behaviour and at the same time reveal the 
means whereby he accomplished this. 

The chief problem of all our experiments is the proof of the 
fundamental law : direct attempts to control his behaviour always 
lead to negative results ; its mastery is achieved only by indirect 
means. The mechanism of the will is the least of all included in 
the direct will power, and it always consists in the use of certain 
external or internal means, in the reconstruction of the psycho- 
logical process. 

In these experiments we occupy ourselves with material espe- 
cially adapted to this purpose; it is difficult and without avail 
to use normal human adults whose psychological processes attain 
a considerable degree of complexity and whose activity is so 
rooted in their usual behaviour that it colors each of their actions. 
It is more profitable to try to bring about control of behaviour 
where it is more obstructed. We are in possession of such cases; 
they are as a rule associated with those disturbances in structure 
of the usual reactive process which we have described in two 
previous chapters. To restrain the diffuse character of the proc- 
esses in the child, to create a functional barrier in the hysteric, 
making him normally control his behaviour, to overcome the 
motor rigidity associated with the organised destruction in paraly- 
sis agitans, having produced conditions more favourable for him 
here is the material which we have chosen to investigate. 

The peculiarity of such comparative material leads us to resort 
to the clinical methods of exposition, sometimes using observa- 
tions on single cases to illustrate our results. 


WE began by attempting to have the subject control his behaviour 
and overcome the defects of the reactive processes by the appli- 
cation of direct force. We have previously pointed out that such 
a direct control is well-nigh impossible. If we show that in the 


child the reactive processes are diffuse, and that in the hysteric 
his behaviour lacks the functional barrier and that he reacts im- 
pulsively, then we have confirmation of our view that all these 
subjects are unable to overcome the reactive processes charac- 
teristic of them. 

We can easily verify this by asking him to mobilise his maximal 
strength to overcome certain defects, and all our efforts produce 
only inconsiderable results. That which we are accustomed to call 
"voluntary behaviour" is actually so involuntary that these primi- 
tive forms of behaviour should not be given this name : the young 
child is absolutely unable to restrain his impulsive pressures; 
the hysteric, even with the exercise of maximal will power, can- 
not decrease the speed of his motor reactions; the patient with 
paralysis agitans, try as he may, is just as tremulous and just 
as rigid. We might multiply these examples indefinitely, showing 
that the efforts to control directly the "voluntary" phenomena are 
vain; we have already adduced a sufficient number of examples 
to indicate this in the presence of seriously disturbed reactive 
processes. 1 

In the experiments with young children in whom we attempt to control 
behaviour we see through the nai've efforts complete inability to effect 
control. Young children, who in our experiments apply all of their strength 
to master the problem, express this failure in many external movements. 
Here is an example: 

Experiment of the 2yth April, 1930. The subject Jenny C., 5^ years 
old, is told to inhibit the inadequate pressures and to respond only to 
the signal. Jenny mobilises all of her strength to follow the instructions; 
the face expresses tension, and she concentrates upon the hand applied 
to the apparatus. However, she gives impulsive pressures without the 
signals. Then she grasps the apparatus and tries with her thumb to 
restrain the extra pressures; but she does not succeed in this and con- 
tinues to give impulsive pressures, reacting with the whole hand and 
even with the thumb which she has used as a regulator. 

This experiment is of interest in showing the naive psychology in the 
behaviour of the child, who is unable to restrain the primitive impulses. 
The child's applications here are evidence of the direct character of 
the attempts to control its behaviour, and it is evident that the "will" 
is powerless as long as it is not transferred to an adequate system. 

What process have we here? Is the child unable to accomplish its 
wishes, or has it not a strong enough desire to do this? We may say that 
the child does not know how to want things and is therefore unable to 
control his behaviour. The child cannot concentrate his attention on 
instructions given him; such symptoms are present in the hysteric also, 
and thus the defect in activity is attributable to a defect in the stimuli, 
making it impossible for the child to mobilise its attention and will 

1 See Chapters X and XI. 


Does the question of "will" consist in the problem of the stim- 
uli ? This may be decided only experimentally. We shall reinforce 
the stimuli acting on the child to control its behaviour in order 
to determine this. The problem of voluntary behaviour, according 
to many authors, consists in the problem of interest, needs and 

In order to introduce in the child maximum motives it is only 
necessary to offer rewards or threaten punishment. These are 
methods of the old school of pedagogy. They have both been 
used in our experiments, without perceptible results. 

The child was brought into our usual laboratory and the motor reac- 
tions registered, according to the experiment. After obtaining the level 
of the diffused, reactive processes the child was given an apple or con- 
fection only when he followed the instructions exactly not making extra 
pressures. After this, the experiment was repeated. 

As a punishment we threatened to take the sweet away from him if 
the instructions were not obeyed, or we gave our instructions more 
sternly, or finally we threatened to accompany each error with an elec- 
tric shock. 

Such stimuli increased the motives of the child, but there was 
no improvement in his actions. The comparatively slight improve- 
ment seen in a few of the subjects could be attained without 
rewards or punishment, but by using other motives, such as com- 
petition, or by having the child give his maximum attention to 
the experiment. 

However, these motives were never specific, they did not 
bring about any marked improvement, and they never changed 
the diffuse process into a differentiated, organised one. Not 
infrequently, the reverse happened; the excitation increased, 
the reactive processes became more diffuse than they were before. 

Figure 120 is a typical case of the influence of a threat. The 
effort to follow our instructions is increased and also the excit- 
ability, but the diffuse and impulsive pressures are augmented. 
Threats, although having little effect in normal children, often 
produce shock and complete disorganisation of the processes in 
psychopaths. As an example of this we cite the case of a boy 
ii years old, with a traumatic psychoneurosis, in whom a single 
threat caused disorganised behaviour and wide-spread tremor with 
many extra pressures. 

The question of the mechanisms of the control of behaviour 
remains an open one; reinforcing the stimuli is insufficient to 
increase the effectiveness of the voluntary act. 



3* if 

. W 





As the direct application of force has proven to be ineffectual in 
aiding the human to realise his wishes, we shall investigate other 
methods. The human readily controls things surrounding him, 
and in addition, reacts to external stimuli, but he is at the same 
time unable to control his own behaviour. He has the motives but 
not the means to realise these motives and before us is the 
experimental question of finding the means enabling him to master 
his behaviour. Thus we approach more closely the mechanism 
of the voluntary act. 

Several considerations lead us to postulate the control of be- 
haviour from without. By choosing an external problem, he has 



before him the artificial establishment of certain situations. We 
have shown above that the human has before him two possibili- 
ties: he may produce changes in things, and modify the stimuli 
proceeding from them ; it is necessary to unite these actions and 
to create those stimuli which correct the behaviour. 

Our experiments will be very elementary, and they attempt to 
register the results in situations analogous to those in which we 
have obtained negative results by the employment of will power. 

We shall first study this method in hysterical patients. We have 
already shown that delayed movements are for them very diffi- 
cult. A stimulus ordinarily provokes in them a transfer of excita- 
tion to the motor system and impulsive pressures, as is shown by 
the vertical curve. Slow pressures are almost impossible for them 
or they become delayed so that they fall in the passive part of the 
curve. This diffusion of the reactive process makes the realisation 
of a problem difficult, and the instructions to produce slow 
movements provoke impulsive actions. It is necessary to substi- 
tute the usual interrupted stimulus (tapping or a flashing light) 
by one lasting for some time (for example, a whistle) in order 
to change the picture. The protracted signal produces in our sub- 
ject an organised action, and the subject delays his movements 
so long as the signal continues. 

. Ui 



Figure 121 shows two such examples. Part A records the motor 
reaction in a hysterical patient to a continuous signal (buzzing) 
which has replaced the interrupted one. Analogous results are 
obtained with spontaneously retarded movements. While the 
spontaneous retardation of the motor pressure in the subject 
shown in Curve B is characterised by marked excitability (ex- 
pressed in the acute tremor), the introduction of a prolonged 
signal removes this excitation and makes the process of spon- 
taneously delayed movements much less difficult. 


This result was associated with a change in the very structure 
of the reactive process. In the first case, after the stimulus the 
subject gave independent spontaneous movements ; in the second 
instance, the movement lost its spontaneous action during the 
prolonged stimulus and became regular. This phenomenon is re- 
lated to echopraxia and suggestibility, which is often seen in 
marked form in hysterics. The movements which cannot be re- 


tarded by spontaneous force or effort, may be easily regulated 
by substitution of certain external stimuli. 

In the left hand of the subject we placed the electric button 
which when pressed produced the buzzing sound and told the 
patient to give himself auto-signals, pressing the button with the 
left hand and making the corresponding delayed movements with 
the right. The impulsive, quick movements became quite regular. 
The subject thus brought about control of his behaviour by meas- 


ures which he applied himself; the direct control is replaced by 
the indirect, and will power is substituted by regulation from 

Figure 122 proves that these movements of the hysteric are 
comparable to those of the normal person. 

If the transfer to the indirect method produces delayed move- 
ments which were impossible to produce by effort, we may expect 
that during the obstructed voluntary active processes this may 
produce the opposite effect. To verify this we shall describe ex- 
periments with Parkinson's disease. Such patients are especially 
suitable for this. The pathologic condition of the subcortical 
ganglia and the considerable disturbance in the tonus make their 
movements very difficult or almost impossible. On the other hand, 
the healthy cortex enables him to use external stimuli and to 
construct a compensatory activity for the subcortical automa- 
tisms. We are able to trace here the mechanism of the voluntary 
processes in those instances where the will, deprived of its sub- 
cortical mechanisms, is powerless. The problem of making this 
person who cannot move his finger, control his behaviour and 
execute a fairly complex action is extremely interesting. 


In order to define the problem confronting us we must eluci- 
date those defects which distinguish the motor system of the 
paralysis agitans patient under the experimental conditions. A 
simple experiment shows that the spontaneous activity of this 
patient is very difficult, and in serious cases almost impossible; 
the great rigidity and quickly ensuing exhaustion prevent the 
patient from making more than four or five pressures. 

In Figure 123 is the record of a patient with this disease in 
severe form. The instructions to make rhythmical pressures with 
the pneumatic bulb produce fairly intensive results. But the 
rigidity causes extreme tremor; the second pressure is weaker 
and there is more rigidity, and after six pressures complete 


exhaustion ensues, with inability to give any motor reactions. 
Appeals to the will of the subject are unavailing, and he is not 
able to move his hand. 

Such paralysis agitans patients which we have observed could 
not turn over when on the level floor, but could climb a ladder ; 
they could not ordinarily walk, but they could do so freely if 
we put on the floor some pieces of paper to stimulate each sepa- 
rate step. Their automatisms were lacking but they were suc- 
cessful in connecting the single reactions to separate stimuli 
(climbing the ladder or stepping according to the pieces of 
paper) ; the insufficient automatisms were replaced here by corti- 
cal activities, much more complex in their structure but accessible 
to the patient. 

The problem before us, then, is to give auto-stimulations, and 
to replace the direct methods of "will power" by signals by which 
the subject might react to definite movements. First we thought 
of repeating the experiment with the hysterical patient, giving 
him an electric button to press by which he might produce stimu- 
lating signals and change from the system of automatic actions 
to a chain of isolated reactions. However, we met with this diffi- 
culty: the hand which should give the signals was disabled by 
the pathological defects of the patient ; it was so rigid and easily 
exhausted that the experiment could not be carried on for any 
length of time. It was now our problem to find a system fairly 
well preserved through which the subject might give the signals. 
The act of winking was a semi-voluntary activity still functioning 
well and requiring a minimal amount of energy. 

This activity (winking) was made a conditioned signal in order 
to connect these two reactions in a single functional system as 
we did in the experiment with the hysteric. 

The subject was given a signal to which he should close his 
eyes and press the rubber bulb with his hand. Then he was told 
to give himself the signals by closing his eyes and simultaneously 
pressing with his hand. As a result we obtained a series of pres- 
sures analogous to the spontaneous rhythmical pressures but 
representing a chain of reactions to a series of auto-stimulations. 
(Figure 124.) 

A comparison of the reactions to the auto-stimulations (A) with 
those of the spontaneous ones (Curve B) shows that the former 
is much more regular and intense while the latter quickly falls 
off, after the seventh pressure. 

In both of the cases we proceeded apparently along the line of 
greatest resistance, in making the subjects give up their usual 





form of activity, and in both we proved that the direct "will 
power" is futile, and that the control of behaviour was achieved 
by the indirect voluntary act, with the inclusion of accessory 

The path we have taken is analogous to that of the history of culture. 
Students of the psychology of primitive peoples agree that the weakest 
point of the behaviour of the savage is his inability to do systematic 
work; as we have shown above he energetically accomplishes his direct 
needs, but is unable to do independent work when the needs are absent. 
Therefore it is of special interest to note that in the control of behaviour 
of the worker, culture has made use of indirect external stimuli. In 
certain Egyptian drawings representing work together with the overseer 
there is painted another regulating the work. In the primitive person 
the indirect job of keeping time with sand-glasses and other signals 
represents the factor described in our experiments. 

A number of applications of rhythm in the process of work is of 
paramount psychological significance. 1 In Borneo, as described by Bucher, 
there was found a primitive instrument for digging, consisting of a 
stick with a smaller one at the other end. Every time that the instrument 
was forced into the ground the smaller stick struck the larger one, 
producing a sound. We cannot evaluate this except as a primitive attempt 
of the human to control his behaviour (labour) by the aid of auto- 
stimulation. To the instrument acting upon the external world there is 
added another one influencing the worker. This latter, automatically giv- 
ing a signal at every stroke of the worker, can be construed as a means 

1 K. Bucher: Work and Rhythm, Moscow, 1923. 


to give himself signals, counting the work by a series of separate indirect 
acts, and making possible labour which would be unattainable for the 
primitive through the application of direct force. 


IT is not obligatory to use external stimuli in the indirect control 
of behaviour, but the adult cultured human may achieve this by 
a special apparatus one of his most important functions which 
may be used for auto-stimulation and organisation of behaviour. 
This function is speech. 

For a long time psychologists have thought of speech as a means 
of communication and of expressing thoughts and feelings. Together with 
these communicating and emotional functions of speech, an intellectual 
one has been added: speech is a powerful means of formulating thoughts, 
and some psychologists have supposed that all the intellectual processes 
occur by virtue of internal, inaudible speech. 

However, a number of recent works, a part of which were done in 
Moscow I prove that besides these functions, speech plays a role in 
human behaviour of no less importance. It is the means of regulating 
and organising the external world, including the separate elements and 
stabilising the picture, and on the other hand, it is the agent of organising 
the behaviour, of planning further actions, saving the human from sub- 
ordination by direct optical situations and activating his behaviour. 

In genetic investigations this function of speech comes out clearly. 
While some authors, such as Piaget, consider the speech of the young 
child as egocentric, merely accompanying the activity of the child, we 
have proven that the "egocentric" speech has the function of planning 
the activity of the child and thus stimulating it. This new planning role 
of speech, its role in stimulating and organising behaviour, begins with 
cases of speech auto-commands and ends with the complex forms of 

After this the disturbances in behaviour associated with the failure of 
speech become clear; and those facts showing that in aphasia the primary 
defect is one of "volition" the inability to elaborate intentions, the de- 
pendence upon external situations, marked distractability of the subject 
are cotnprehensible when we study that central role of speech which it 
plays in the organisation of human behaviour. 

In experiments having to do with very elementary actions, we 
have been able to investigate the organising role of speech in its 
primitive stages. Even simple auto-commands replacing external 
stimulations may help the human to control his behaviour, and 

*L. C. Vuitogsky: Pedagogy of the School Age, 1929. 

Idem and A. R. Luria: Function and Fate of Egocentric Speech, Proceed- 
ings of the Ninth International Psychological Congress, 1929. 


where the direct control is not attainable, by the inclusion of the 
speech system in the reactive process, we often obtained fairly 
good results. 

These experiments were analogous to those in which we applied 
external stimuli for the control of behaviour. For this purpose 
we chose the hysteric patient whose behaviour we regulated by 
the application of continuous signals. For the external signal we 
may substitute speech reinforced by sound (auto-dictation). The 
same results were obtained as formerly, and after a few trials the 
patient could produce delayed regular pressures, which he was not 
able to do by direct effort. 

If the application of speech can help to inhibit the impulsive 
movements, then in the cases where the control of movement 
means acceleration, in the overcoming of the organic rigidity, 
language may serve as a psychological compensation for the motor 
defects. In our experiments with paralysis agitans we attempt to 
show whether a word can act as a stimulating agent just as the 
external motor stimulus did. If so, the problem of auto-stimula- 
tion and control of behaviour in Parkinson's disease could be 
solved by the use of speech in functionally reconstructing the 
activity of the neuropsychical apparatus. However, we met here 
at first with the same elementary difficulties: our subject was 
unable to pronounce a word or to execute a movement, and we 
at first met with failure in our attempts to employ speech as an 
auto-stimulating factor in the behaviour of the Parkinsonian 

However, there naturally arises the question here, whether it 
is sufficient to pass over from the external speech to the internal 
and to be limited by the problem of giving oneself the auto- 
command, not pronouncing the words aloud, in order to attain 
the result which we seek. But along this path we meet with con- 
siderable difficulty: the internal command connected with speech 
is a spontaneous act which is extremely trying for the patient 
with paralysis agitans, and the interruption of this command in 
the automatic experiment is thus impossible. The experiment 
shows that it supports the spontaneous chain movements, and we 
do not see the changes which are carried into the motor activity. 

The problem of the experimenter is thus altered. Instead of 
striving to stimulate directly the movements, he now inquires: 
How is it possible to stimulate speech, to overcome its rapid 
exhaustion, and to bring about stimulation of the motor activity? 
We again come to the problem of the control of the behaviour 
by the aid of a number of roundabout paths. 


Many theoretical considerations suggested by the Berlin school of 
psychologists (Lewin) helps us to decide this question. Studying the 
energy relations in the processes of activity, Lewin proved that a monot- 
onous repetition of the separate acts is characterised by a dynamical ten- 
sion different from the activity included in the definite structure. The 
first can be interrupted in any part of the chain without manifesting 
any modification in the tension, but every moment of the structural 
work is characterised by a certain tension striving to discharge itself 
(Entladung) ; this activity draws toward its end, and the tension in- 
creases as the activity nears its completion. 

If we wish to increase the activity of any function, to augment the 
tension, we should include it in a definite structure and bring it fairly 
close to the purpose of the subject. 

In our experiments with paralysis agitans the unsuccessful re- 
sults in working with internal speech were due to such a diffi- 
culty ; the activity which we attempted to produce was monoto- 
nous; it did not tend to a definite goal; and it was deprived of 



that degree of cortical tension necessary for the compensation of 
the sub-cortical tension in Parkinson's disease. The problem be- 
fore us is to increase tension connected with internal speech, to 
include it in a definite system, having given it a structural rather 
than a chain character. We could easily do this by having the 
subject count to a definite number, noting the pressures asso- 
ciated with each figure. The experiment showed that we were 
on the right track, and that this transfer to the structural charac- 
ter of the speech activity leads to the production of the behaviour 
which we seek. The picture here is different from that seen in 
the attempts to connect the movements with the monotonous 

In Figure 125 we see a curve which is very significant. We tell 
the subject to make spontaneous rhythmical pressures, simul- 
taneously counting each one; we do not limit the number of 
pressures, and we see in Curve A that it differs little from the 


motor reactions customary in this subject; they are tremulous 
and disappear after the eighth reaction. The inclusion of the 
speech does not give the expected result and the rigidity and 
rapid exhaustion are still present. Without interrupting the ex- 
periment we give him another problem: to press eight times, 
simultaneously counting we limit the number of pressures to 
create a chain. This includes the voluntary activity in a definite 
structure, and we obtain a revolution in the motor activity of the 
subject ; instead of the exhaustion and the rigidity we have well- 
marked movements proceeding to their terminus. 

We replace the usual spontaneous type of movements by move- 
ments included in a certain cortical structure, and the result is an 
overcoming of the movements present in a given pathological 

Such a transfer of the movements, including them in a well- 
defined, cortical structure modifies the whole dynamics of the 
behaviour, so that one application is sufficient to overcome the 
complete exhaustion and to establish along these new paths a 
restored activity. Figure 125 demonstrates this: the patient is told 
to make spontaneous, rhythmical pressures, and the experiment 
is continued until complete exhaustion, inability to press any 
more, and refusal to continue the experiment. Suddenly without 
any pause in the experiment, we tell him to "count to eight," 
and entirely unexpectedly he is able to produce eight regular 
pressures without signs of fatigue. 

Then that which was impossible to accomplish by direct will 
force becomes attainable when the action is included in another 
complex system. 



Experimentation shows that the observed phenomenon is a very 
constant one. After a year we saw this patient again, although 
he was in a much worse condition. Figure 127 convinces us that 
the simple rhythmical pressures, rapidly leading to fatigue, are 
not reinforced by any direct will force. 





All attempts to appeal to the subject to make spontaneous 
pressures come to naught, and the curve remains flat. However, 
when we give him some intellectual problem, including the hand 
in the system of its execution, this defect immediately disappears. 
It is not necessary to make the subject count aloud, accompany- 
ing the counting by pressing ; we may have him answer by tap- 
ping. Curve B illustrates such an experiment. We ask him : How 
many wheels on a waggon? How many points to a star? and we 
obtain the corresponding answers by tapping, and these have a 
normal character without signs of that rigidity and exhaustion 
which are characteristic for this patient. 

What are the mechanisms by which we are able to overcome 
the rigidity and to help the patient control his behaviour? We 
believe that the complex system of cortical compensation is asso- 
ciated with the exchange of the very structure of the reactive 
processes. It is likely that the problem to "count to eight" or "how 
many wheels to a waggon" not only creates in the patient a 
strong cortical structure, but decides the problem of means. 

The movements of response are here not direct, but produced 
through a fairly complex system of the intricate participating 
speech mechanisms. 

The picture here is the reverse of that seen in the aphasiac. 
In the latter case everything that is connected with the speech 


mechanisms falls out, and the movements become automatic, and 
primitive. The paralysis agitans patient is capable of giving 
movements only if the speech component is included, even though 
it may be concealed. 

It is not difficult to prove this, by using with the Parkinsonian patient 
motor tests which the aphasiac is unable to handle, owing to the presence 
of concealed speech mechanisms. The test of Head was employed: once 
the patient was asked to imitate the raising of the hand by the mirror 
image, the other time by the speech instructions. The aphasiac could 
accomplish the first problem (the operator facing him and requesting him 
to repeat the movements as he makes them), but not the second; but 
the patient with paralysis agitans could hardly raise the hand in imitation 
of the experimenter, although he could more easily, rapidly and with less 
rigidity execute the movements according to the language instructions. 
This experiment explains the nature of the compensation here and indi- 
cates its close relation to the stimulations similar in type to those which 
suffer most in the aphasiac. 

The concealed speech mechanisms, serving as internal stimuli, 
help the patient to control his motor system, which he is abso- 
lutely powerless to do by the direct application of "force of will." 

If the organising and stimulating role of speech is a powerful 
means of controlling the behaviour, then it is one of the early 
factors overcoming the primitive diffuseness of the reactive proc- 
esses and aiding the child in his first attempts to organise his 
reactions. Our first trials to produce in the child the maximal 
ability to organise his behaviour (see Section 2 of this chapter) 
were unavailing because we presented to the child the stimulus 
for the organisation of his behaviour but not the means by which 
he might accomplish this. The acquisition of speech at once gives 
him this means, and leads to the regulation of the behaviour 
and the overcoming of the diffused reactive processes. 

Above we have cited simple reactions of the child to external 
auditory signals. They are characterised by acute diffusion, inade- 
quate mobilisation of the excitation and inability to restrain the 
extra impulses. However, it is sufficient for us to include in this 
reactive process the simple counting of the given pressures in 
order that this one factor might organise the diffuse reactive 
process. The speech can be included so that it represents a fairly 
well organised process even in children 3^ or 4 years old. 

Figure 128 illustrates how the single inclusion of speech leads 
to the coordination of the motor processes. 

Our opinion, although contradicting what has been held con- 
cerning the coordinating processes in the child, is as follows : the 
first coordination arises by no means as a simple habit, but it pre- 





supposes an organised inclusion of the higher psychological mech- 
anisms ; the secret of the functional barrier is decided genetically 
in the first stages by the path of inclusion of these psychological 
systems; every movement, however simple, is constructed not 
only from below, but from "above" by the inclusion of the higher 
psychological mechanisms. 

The earliest aspect of the organised reaction is not a simple 
responsive movement to an external signal, but a movement in- 
cluding the complex speech mechanisms, and strange as it may 
seem the earliest forms of organised movements are seen in the 
cases of the associated reactions of the motor system. 




4. DOLL 4.8" PLAY; 5. BALL 4.0" RED 

In Figure 129 we show the simple reactions to a signal in a 
child 2 years and 3 months old in Curve A, and in Curve B 
the reactions connected with the associated answers ; in the first 


case there are diffused and uncoordinated movements ; and in the 
second instance organised reactions with restrained preliminary 
impulses and perfect coordination with the speech responses. 

According to the clinical method of presentation, we shall sub- 
mit only this one case, but we have numerous others manifesting 
the same tendencies. The inclusion of speech at first provokes 
an organisation of the voluntary reactive processes, and if in the 
child of 2 years and 3 months we can obtain such a result, we 
are not surprised when in the child of 3 or 4 years the inclusion 
of speech leads to a reactive process externally approaching the 
reaction of an adult and containing only several remaining signs 
of the dominating excitation. 


THE experiments which we have just described indicate that the 
control of behaviour presupposes profound changes in the struc- 
ture of the reactive processes. We have seen that direct force is 
ineffectual in this control and that it is possible only by a transfer 
to some other complex cultural mechanism. The human is unable 
to govern his behaviour directly ; he creates some auxiliary stimu- 
lus which acts upon him and makes him automatically accom- 
plish his goal. The problem of the control of behaviour consists 
in the change of the direct impulsive reactions by those of a 
complex system; and only in this cultural operation of the em- 
ployment of auxiliary means, the establishment of stimuli having 
an opposite effect on the subject, does he find the possibility to 
control his behaviour. 

This modification of the structure of the reactive processes is 
not limited by the simple cases of introducing auto-signals, or 
the application of stimuli accelerating or retarding the move- 
ments. The most striking forms of the indirect control of be- 
haviour are seen in those cases when there is provoked not only 
a simple realisation of the movements, but a preparation of the 
complex activity having to do with the higher psychological func- 
tions of the subject. Our experiments prove that the control of 
human behaviour is impossible without this process of transfer, 
and that to this mechanism are applicable only the most involved 
auxiliary means. 

The experiments with the reactions of choice often brought us 
close to our problem, and using this as an example we attempted 
to show that the overcoming of the primitive, diffuse, neuro- 
dynamical processes occurred in the complex strata of behaviour. 


Characteristic of the child * is the diffused, impulsive and primi- 
tive reaction of trial and error, in contrast to the reactions of the 
adult which are divided into two functionally different phases 
and in the movement there is only the execution of the act 
prepared in the preliminary process. 

Now we may inquire by what mechanisms is this evolution 
effected ? What is hidden behind this overcoming of the primary 
diffusion, and how should we explain the divided and organised 
reactions of the adult? 

We shall attempt to give an answer to these questions. The 
degree of organisation of the reactive processes of the adult, in 
comparison with the child, is not to be explained on the ground 
of the maturity and easy-flowing character of the former. They 
are two structurally different reactions, having to do with differ- 
ent natures. The diffused character of the reaction of choice is 
seen whenever there is absent the auxiliary means, when the 
process of application of the child to the complex situation is 
direct ; it becomes substituted by the organised, subdivided reac- 
tion at that moment when the subject turns his attention to some 
other process, and, discarding his efforts to control the problem 
by direct force, applies auxiliary stimuli, means and signals. 

The process of elaboration of the functional barrier consists in 
the transfer from the direct action to the cultured, indirect opera- 
tion. The delay of the immediate impulses, the isolation of the 
excitation from a direct discharge into the motor sphere, and the 
turning to the preliminary, central preparation of the process 
means the refusal of the direct attempts to decide the question 
and the creation of those preliminary connections which might by 
an automatic path produce the corresponding movement. 

The mechanism of the functional barrier consists in the cir- 
cuition of the reactive process by the higher psychological func- 
tions, and this gave us the occasion to encounter the idea of the 
morphological understanding of the phenomenon and led us to 
seek for its roots in the stable anatomical elaborations. The 
functional barrier characterising the whole development of the 
reactions is a product of the cultural activity, a result of the 
ability to use the indirect operations not only in the control of 
the external mechanisms, but in the control of himself. 

The conclusion to be drawn from this is: we no longer have 
the right to consider the reactive process of the human as a 
habit, but we must recognise in him higher psychological mech- 
anisms, and our interest centres about these. 

*See Chapter X, Section 5. 


If we are correct in our assumption, and if actually the sup- 
pression of the diffused nature of the reactive processes is asso- 
ciated with the transfer to an indirect operation, then it is 
sufficient to include in the reactive process such an indirect factor 
that will provoke in the subject a transfer from the diffused 
structure of the reaction to its organisation on a new, higher basis. 

The position which seems to us theoretically incontrovertible encoun- 
ters many practical difficulties, which are so interesting that we shall 
discuss them before going on to the experiments. Not every child is 
capable of applying one or another means for the organisation of its 
indirect processes. The use of instruments for the external world appears 
very early in the life of the child, and is already present at i l /2 or 2 
years of age. Much later, however, comes the application of measures 
to himself, and a long time is required before they effect the indirect 
operations having to do with the control of his own behaviour, memory, 
attention, thinking. 1 Notwithstanding what psychological functions we 
were studying, the scheme of development remained the same: at first 
the child is able to solve the given problem only by the direct applica- 
tion, and only much later does he begin to employ external measures, 
the activity of his own psychological processes, and only at a late age 
does he resort to the internal, indirect processes. 

The suppression of the diffusion in the simple reactive processes oc- 
curs only when the complex psychological mechanisms appear in the 
behaviour of the child; the time of manifestation of the organised 
structure in the reaction of choice stands in relation to the development 
of the use of the external signals, the ability to establish external stimuli, 
concerned with the organisation of his behaviour and its use in the 
psychological operations. The usual conception of the development as 
a gradual progression from the lower forms to the higher, gives way 
here to another, based on the reciprocal relations of the forms, and in 
accordance with this, the processes which we consider simple, depend upon 
much more complicated ones, including them as hidden mechanisms. 

From this point of view the subordination of the primitive, diffused, 
reactive processes becomes comprehensible; we begin to understand it not 
as a process of gradual maturing, but as a result of the inclusion within 
it of the higher systems developing at that time. 

In the experiments with the control of the reactions of choice 
we proceed thus: we attempt to include in the reactive process 
the auxiliary stimulus, which at this time is not a simple stimulus, 
neither provoking nor inhibiting the movement, but it shunts the 
whole reactive process, replacing the direct trials of the arising 
reaction of choice by complicated, organised acts. 

1 On the initiative of L. S. Vuigotsky and together with him we have 
studied the development of the indirect processes in children. See L. S. Vuigot- 
sky: Pedagogy of the School Age, Moscow, 1929; The Problem of the Cul- 
tural Development of the Child, Jour, of Genetic Psychology, 1929. A. R. 
Luria: The Problem of the Cultural Behaviour of the Child, idem, 1928; 
Luria and Vuigotsky: Studies in the History of Behaviour, Moscow, 1930. 


Proceeding on the principle that the stimulus presented causes 
an impulsive movement, complicating the organised reaction of 
choice, we proposed to the subject to make use of the auxiliary 
signal, in order to organise his choice and make the act a mne- 
monic one. The subject was instructed to close a key in front 
of him on the presentation of a certain drawing, and by every 
key we placed an auxiliary stimulus, an object which would 
become associated with the fundamental stimulus and would help 
to orient the subject in regard to the reaction of choice. Thus 
if to the picture of a hammer he must press the first key, we 
place near the first key an auxiliary, orienting x stimulus, a nail ; 
if the second key must be pressed on the presentation of the 
picture of a lock, we put a key near it, etc. While in the very 
young children only an object closely connected with the stimulus 
may be used as the orienting signal, in older children almost 
anything can be employed. 2 This comes about because the subject 
includes the object in the speech structure. Thus in the child 
9 years old we made a rubber tube an auxiliary sign for closing 
the key to the picture of a "forest," "because in the forest it is 
dark and in the tube it is also dark" ; "nail" is the signal for the 
sketch "mother," "because the mother is ill in bed and the nail 
also lies down," etc. 

We shall not give a detailed discussion of how these operations 
develop along with the child, but rather we shall show that the 
whole structure of the reactive processes becomes reconstructed. 
In the reaction of choice we have shown that the stimulus in the 
child produces a direct tendency to react to the movements, and 
the excitation is transferred to the motor system before the 
answer is prepared, but in the introduction of the auxiliary 
signals the process is changed ; the stimulus provokes in the sub- 
ject a structure of the speech which connects the stimulus with 
the auxiliary signs, leading not to movement but to the search 
for the auxiliary sign, and later the excitation is connected with 
the motor area, and the prepared act is quickly effected. 

A young child is able to control its behaviour, not by direct 
force, but by inclusion in a complicated auxiliary system. 


IN the control of behaviour the chief role is played by the mech- 
anism of circuition, the mechanism of coupling-up the impulse 

1 See works of Morozov and of Faivunovich, from our laboratory. 

2 Orienting in this discussion is used in its general setting and meaning and 
not in the sense in which it is applied by Pavlov. Translator. 


and the motor appearance of some intervening link regulating 
the process of excitation. Experiments with children and hysterics 
showed that this process overcomes the primitive diffusion of the 
reaction, transforming it into organised, complex forms. Speech 
is a preeminent factor as an auto-regulator of behaviour, and 
helps to bring about the above transformation. The regulating 
and organising role of speech may be applied to any system. 
Conditioned optical symbols should play the same organising 
role as the activity of speech does. 

The symbolic application included in the system of behaviour, 
diverts the reaction, in the same way as does speech, separates 
the excitation from the direct transfer to the motor system, and 
leads to a complex organised structure of the reactive process. 

Every symbolic system may be a powerful means of organising 
affect. This can be proved by the part that symbolic systems as 
images have played in the history of culture ; they are connected 
with emotions and are widely employed in art, in the theatre, 
etc., to organise affect. We shall try to show how the control of 
affect is brought about by symbolic measures. For this we shall 
use experiments with hypnosis, indicating that the affective be- 
haviour takes on a new structure after the introduction of sym- 
bolic forms. 

To the subject under hypnosis we suggest the necessity of 
explaining the definite affective states seen directly, or by the 
help of the symbols. 1 

Subject K., a hysterical woman 30 years old, had been under 
the observation of psychiatrists some weeks. Her complex was 
connected with the fact that her husband was an alcoholic, and 
wasted all of his money on drink, and furthermore grossly mis- 
treated her. Every recollection about this situation produced an 
acute affect. 

In three successive seances it was suggested to the woman that 
she would want to describe the feelings which had been troubling 
her. In the first experiment, however, the conditions are created 
for a more direct manifestation of these experiences, and for this 
reason speech is included ; in the second seance the subject is told 
to express her feelings with paper and pencil ; and finally in the 
third, to express them with direct symbols. 

Below is a description of the results. 

The first experiment. To the patient in deep hypnosis it was suggested: 
"When you awake you will have an intense desire to relate what you 

1 Experiment done by Dr. Kannabich. 



have been through recently. But you will not be able to talk about this, 
but you will show what has been worrying you." On awakening the 
subject slowly opens her eyes, looks first to one side, then the other, 
and begins to look in her pocket-book, at first quietly and then more 
rapidly, grabs the money in it and throws it down, then starts to cry, 
tears her dress, wrings her hands. The experiment ends with an attack 
of severe sobbing and the subject is put to sleep again. 

The second experiment. The subject was again told to express her 
experiences but with paper and pencil. On awakening, she slowly goes to 
the table, takes up a pencil indecisively, begins to draw figures, increases 
the speed of her movements, draws irregular circles. Figure 132 shows 

a drunkard with a bottle and a glass. Around this is written: "spend- 
thrift, with one hand," the rest is illegible. The drawing shows impulsive- 
ness, the handwriting is deformed, individual words are helter skelter. 
The third experiment. The subject was put to sleep, and the suggestion 
made that she express her experiences in symbolic forms which would 
completely describe her state, out not be intelligible at once to everyone. 
The patient on awakening goes to the table and makes a drawing shown 
in Figure 131 a bottle and near it a snake. Her behaviour is tense but 
without manifestation of affect. Finally she puts down the pencil and does 
not attempt to make any further drawings. 

The three experiments manifest the affective state, but they 
are characterised by different structures of the affect. In the first 
instance, the subject began with the direct reproduction of the 



affective situation; the affective images are connected with the 
motor system and are excitatory in character. The first experiment 
shows a motor storm, the artificially produced affect and the 
diffused excitation, and finally, a severe emotional attack. The 

Fie ^e. 

second experiment is similar; the motor storm here occurs on 
paper, also showing diffused excitation. 

The third experiment is entirely different: the affective state 
is not expressed directly, but through symbols ; the reproduction 
of all the experiences connected with the drunkard husband who 
wastes his money is substituted by the bottle and snake the 
symbols of drunkenness. 1 What is of interest for us is that the 

1 A green snake is a common symbol in Russia for drunkenness. 


whole structure of the behaviour is changed by these symbols; 
there is no sobbing, etc. The suggestion, "to express everything 
that troubled her," is limited by the drawing, without any motor 
disturbances. The symbol here overcame the affect and the sub- 
ject had control of her behaviour, diverting it through conditioned 
symbols, and passing from the direct biological forms to the cul- 
tured forms of behaviour. 

This experiment brings us to an understanding of the mechanics 
underlying the action of symbols as emotional signals, and, on the 
other hand, it helps us to see how the mechanism of the substitu- 
tion of the primitive process by cultural signals is the most im- 
portant factor in the control of behaviour. 

The genesis of behaviour control is as follows: the regulation of be- 
haviour comes about not through the origin and growth of voluntary 
processes, but by the development of the use of external signals in the 
problems. . . . The late appearance of the organisation of the child's be- 
haviour is due not to the want of development in the nervous system, 
but to the late inclusion of the substituting systems in the reactive 

Experiments were done with children analogous to the preceding. The 
child is told to draw images illustrating something, and if these are fairly 
active we obtain three stages of the child's development. The child who 
is not yet able to distinguish signs imitates and draws indifferent figures, 
and then finishes with a dramatisation of the image. Thus "Slava B.," in 
Figure 133 A when asked to draw "war" produces unintelligible figures, 
but afterwards dramatises it, jumping, going through the motions of 
shooting, crying "boom, boom." The poverty of the sketch is compen- 
sated for by the actions. 

The next child, n years old, Figure 133 B, puts on paper what the 
younger one has acted, but does not go through the bodily movements of 
dramatising the sketch. In the third drawing, Figure 133 C, by a child 
13 years old, the motor discharge of the image disappears, as soon as 
the child is able graphically to give definite, specific components for the 
image. The imitating components are replaced by the external graphic 

The former empirical psychology failed in the examination of 
the individual psychological processes and the behaviour of the 
living, concrete personality. Will and intellect were considered 
as separate entities, and the latter was not seen as the key to the 
development of will. Simple motor phenomena, associations, emo- 
tions and strivings, thinking and speech were subjects of special 
divisions of psychology, usually relegated to the final chapters 
of the text-book to illustrate the laws previously described. 

We may consider that the preliminary period in the develop- 
ment of psychology has been passed. Psychology finds itself in a 




great crisis, and what had been formerly studied apart as inde- 
pendent isolated activities are now investigated in their func- 
tional relations to one another. The behaviour of the human adult 
is primarily a product of complex growth, which cannot be com- 
prehended as an accumulation of experiences. Human psychology 
differs from the zoological point of view in that it sees specific 
laws absent in the phenomena of nature and characteristic of 
history. The development of the human as a historical subject 
occurs as the elaboration of special forms of historical, cultural 
behaviour. This development evokes new specific mechanisms, 
the peaks of historical evolution. Speech and the use of signs, 
the permutation of activity by the use of cultural means make the 
human a new biological series in history. These new functions 
do not remain isolated in the psychological processes, but per- 
meate the whole activity and structure of behaviour so that we 
find them literally in every movement of the fingers. 

To understand human behaviour in its destruction and organi- 
sation without these cultural, psychological mechanisms is im- 
possible, for destruction would be but a sum of physiological 
symptoms, and organisation only a dictionary of terms. In the 
analysis of the neurodynamical phenomena we should like to 
defend the psychological method ; beginning to work with psycho- 
physiological facts, we have come to their psychological interpre- 
tation. The analysis of the complex cultural mechanisms is the 
key to the understanding of the simple neurodynamical processes. 
We have done this with only a few of the psychophysiological 
processes, but we are convinced that this system of investigation 
answers many of the riddles of human psychology. 


Ach, M. 207, 209. 

Adler 225. 

Affect, in tremor of hand 35 ; artificially 

produced 38; mass Chap. II; of 

scholastic examination 46, 63; and 

cleansing 47 et seq.; diffuse 49, 64; 

in criminals Chap. Ill; artificial 

130; shifted 149; mechanics Chap. 

IV; and conflict 174; psychophysi- 

ology of 177. 
Alliteration 261. 
Amnesia, hypnotic 130, 131, 149, 217, 

270, 281. 
Aphasia 6, 7, 389, 393; conflicts of 270, 

272, 278; identification of objects in 

276; amnestic 281. 
Apraxia 392. 

Attention, distraction of 385. 
Auto-stimulation 410; auto commands 


Bard, Philip 370, 371. 
Barrier, functional 95, 182, 183, 201, 
220, 351, 353, 355, 362, Chap. XI. 
Bazett 370. 

Behaviour, control of C. 12, 419. 
Behaviour, organisation of 9. 
Benussi 98. 

Binswanger, L. 29, 98. 
Brunswick, D. 77. 
Bucher 412. 
Btihler 397. 

Cannon, W. B. n, 12, 17, 44. 

Catalysis 180. 

Child 8. 

Child, reaction of 333, 335, 337, 34, 
345, 418, 420, 426; logic of 359; con- 
trol of behaviour in 404. 

Choice, reaction of 346, 348, 351, 353. 

Christianity and confession 115. 

Claperede 359. 

Cleansing of Russian Universities 47 
et. seq. 

Coghill, G. E. 355- 

Complexes Ch. IV. 

Compulsion 241, 245; experiments of 
242 ; inhibited 253. 

Conditioned reflex 206, 207, 388. 

Confession, role of 114, 115, 116, 120, 
121, 122. 

Conflict, artificial Ch. VI, 220. 

Conflict of defection 224, 230, 236, 240, 
268; of acceleration 319; dynamics 
of 241; experimental 319; sponta- 
neous origin of 305; whole-part 226, 

227 ': 
Conflicting processes, structure of Ch. 


Context and conflict 217. 
Cortex and sub-cortex 371. 
Criminals, investigation of Ch. Ill; 

symptoms in 80; negative tests of 


Darwin 331. 
Dementia 293. 
Dermatographia 325. 
Dewey, John 13. 
Drunkenness 425. 
Dupri 378. 

Echolalia in criminals 123, 124, 195. 
Eidetic images 247, 357. 
Entladung 208, 268, 277, 288, 380. 
Entspannung 62. 
Erojeeva 206. 

Excitation, mobilisation of 185; ir- 
radiation of 236. 



Fatigue 384. 
Foerster 18. 
Freud, S. 97, 150. 

Goldstein, K. 8. 
Gordanesco 372. 
de Greef 383. 
Gross, A. 97. 
Gross, H. 97. 
Gurevitch 18, 336, 378. 

Hamburger 18. 

//>jrf, #ery 7, 370, 371. 

Heilbronner 79, 97. 

Hollingsworth 99. 

Hypnosis 29, 35, 190, 241, 244, 256, 


Hysteria 295, 299, 309, 314, 316, 318, 
325, 326, 372, 374, 377, 393, 403, 
407, 423; delayed reactions, 376; 
grande 308 

Idiocy 83, 353- 

lllinsky 378. 

Imbecility 378, 379, 380, 382, 384. 

Inhibition and excitation 8. 

Inhibition of reaction 185, 210, 268; 

of tendencies 259; shifting of 264. 
lolles 131. 
Ishlondsky 368. 
Isserlin 19. 
Ivanov-Smolensky 351, 362. 

Jackson, Hughlings 370. 

Jaensch 247, 357. 

James-Lange theory u, 15, 17, 170. 

James, W. 402. 

Jung, C. 29, 38, 51, 79, 97, 122, 194. 

Justification, mechanism of 245, 246. 

Kaelas 171. 

Kanter 13. 

Kleist 18. 

Koffka 8. 

Kohler 8. 

Kurzschluss 180, 181, 358, 377. 

Landis 170. 

Language, conflict of 213, 283, 287. 

Larson 98. 

Lashley, K. S. 4, 8, 368. 

Lebedinsky 271, 333, 339, 341, 379. 

Lehmann 170. 

Lehrman 19. 

Leontiev 47, 152, 160, 243, 248. 

Lewin, K. 13, 207, 208, 225, 239, 240, 

242, 355, 358, 393, 399, 4*4- 
Linguistic reactions 83, 84. 


Linguistics 223. 
Lippmann 194. 
Loeffler 79, 97. 
Lowenstein 16, 19, 29, 34, 79, 98, 171, 


Lubimov 348, 352, 354. 
Lueditz, H. 349. 
Luna, A. R. 51, 271, 359, 389, 4Oi> 

412, 421. 

MacCurdy 13. 

Magnus 18. 

Marston 13. 

Marx 400. 

Marxian materialism vii. 

Mental age 360, 361. 

Method of experimentation 23, 24, 26, 


Meyer, Adolf viii, ix, 8. 
Michelle 398. 
Monakow 9. 
Morozova 388. 

Motor system, passive 45, 288. 
Movement-formula 21. 
Movements, voluntary 21. 
Miinsterberg, H. 98. 
Murders, tests for 84, Ch. Ill, 89, 95, 

up, 175, 186, 195. 
Mysischov 191. 

Neurasthenia 181, 184, 295, 307, 311, 

3M, 3i7, 321, 326, 372. 
Neuropathology, diagnosis of 75. 
Neurosis 75, 176, 177, 323, 328, 335; 

artificial, Ch. VII; delayed reactions 

in 314. 

Ossipov 378. 
Ouchtomsky 160. 
Ousjankin 400. 

Parabiosis 160. 

Paralysis 293, 294; pseudobulbar. 

Paralysis agitans 403 409, 410, 411, 414, 

416, 417. 
Paraphasia 272. 
Pavlov, I. P. viii, 12, 44, 99, 206, 

209, 422. 
Pen field 370. 

Perseveration 186, 194, 198, 393. 
Piagel, J. 358, 359, 412. 
Physiology and psychology 18, 368. 
Primitive people and work 411. 
Psychoanalysis and psychology, xi, 5. 
Psychobiology, viii, ix, 8. 
Psychogalvanic reflex 29. 
Psychology, history of 4; fallacies of 



Psychology, position of 128, 129; em- 
pirical 426. 

Psychoneuroses 225; behaviour in 365; 
traumatic 405. 

Punishment 405, 406. 

Quasi-bedurfnisse 393, 402. 

Reaction patterns 83, 307. 
Redintegration, law of 99. 
Repression in experiment 32. 
Right and left handedness 385. 
Ritterhaus 79, 97. 
Rossolimo 341. 

Schtchlovanov 362. 

Seelig, M. 98. 

Segal 379- 

Shenger-Krestovnikova 207. 

Sherrington 370. 

Smith, W. W. 29, 98. 

Sommer 19, 34, 98. 

Speech, conflicts in 280, 283, 389, 393. 

Stein, P. 79, 97. 

Stereotypy 124, 125, 127, 200, 262. 

Stern 359. 

Stigmatism and conversion 375. 

Success and conflict 229. 

Suggestion and complexes 134, 142, 

241, 250, 252, 256; unaccepted 167. 
Suppression 114, 125, 193, ^4, 197, 



Synapses 394; conception of 394. 

Syncretism 284. 

Synkinesis 188, 189, 192, 195. 

Tar chancy 98. 

Tempo, change 210, 211, 212. 
Tension in criminals 114, 118, 193. 
Terminology in psychology 3. 
Theft, test of 99, 107. 
Type, reactive-stable and reactive- 
labile 71, 73, 292; analysis of 363. 

Valenitch 131. 

Varshav 131. 

Vegetative symptoms 29, 45, 166, 170, 


Ventilation, psychophysiology of 115. 
Veraguth 98. 
Vuigotsky 359, 377, 401, 412, 421. 

Watson, J. B. 13. 
Washburn, M. F. 150. 
Wertheimer 8, 79, 97. 
Will 208, 381, Ch. XII; freedom of 
399J and control of behaviour 410. 
Wilson 371. 

Winking as conditioned signal 410 
Woodworth 370. 
Wundt n, 14, 15, 130, 133, 170, 171, 

Zabrejnev 131.